Sprint files lawsuit to block merger of AT&T and T-Mobile
Sprint Nextel has thrown yet another gauntlet at the feet of AT&T, this time suing to block the company’s increasingly troubled bid to take over T-Mobile USA.
If AT&T and T-Mobile were to combine to form the nation’s largest wireless network, Sprint said, the resulting wireless monolith would be strong enough to “exclude competitors, raise their costs, restrict their access to handsets, damage their businesses and ultimately to lessen competition.”
Sprint filed the federal suit in the District of Columbia, intending it to be linked to a similar suit filed by the Department of Justice last week. Both suits claim the merger would violate antitrust laws designed to prevent the formation of monopolies and duopolies, in which entire markets are controlled by one or two companies.
“With today’s legal action, we are continuing that advocacy on behalf of consumers and competition,” Susan Z. Haller, Sprint’s vice president of litigation, said in a statement. Sprint “expect[s] to contribute our expertise and resources in proving that the proposed transaction is illegal.”
But AT&T wasted little time in returning fire, and sought to undermine Sprint’s effort to portray itself as a defender of consumer welfare.
“This simply demonstrates what we’ve said all along –- Sprint is more interested in protecting itself than it is in promoting competition that benefits consumers,” AT&T said in its statement. “We of course will vigorously contest this matter in court…”