Sprint blasts AT&T’s bid to buy T-Mobile USA; urges regulators to block deal

“Sprint Nextel urged regulators to block AT&T Inc’s $39 billion bid to buy Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA, saying the merger would harm consumers,” Jasmin Melvin reports for Reuters. “‘This transaction is fundamentally anti-competitive, and you can’t fix that with merger conditions,’ Charles McKee, Sprint’s vice president of government affairs, federal and state regulatory, told Reuters in a phone interview on Monday.”

“The deal would concentrate 80 percent of U.S. wireless contract customers in just two companies — AT&T/T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless,” Melvin reports. “”No. 2 U.S. mobile carrier AT&T, often criticized for dropped calls and slow connection speeds, said the merger would spur innovation and economic growth by improving quality and expanding service to 95 percent of the U.S. population.”

Melvin reports, “The U.S. Federal Communications Commission — which aims to extend mobile broadband to virtually all Americans — and Justice Department are expected to take at least a year to review the proposed merger, and impose significant conditions if they approve the deal.”

Read more in the full article here.

22 Comments

    1. Actually, it is different. AT&T had not already bought T-Mobile when Verizon bought Altel. The more concentrated the market gets, the more dangerous future mergers become. Not saying they should or shouldn’t be allowed to do it – but this is how FCC looks at it, and a valid consideration.

    2. Altel wasn’t in the same league as T-Mobile so it was much easier for Verizon to acquire them. Even if Verizon hadn’t bought Altel this merger would bring great scrutiny since you are contracting to 3 major US carriers from 4. Altel was never a major carrier in the same sense as T-Mobile.

  1. Hey “Danny Boy” as Dan Hesse
    It was ok 4u to Get the deal with TMO, but not ATT right,
    Wait, Am i missing Something,
    Why don’t u go Fix ur Crappy service & ur Antiquated Network Plus ur Myopic thinking and Just Maybe u will have a better Network to Attract Better Paying Customers, than Crying Like a Little Bitch Because u Lost out to ATT.

    (Ur one Sour Looser) Screw u & Screw Sprint.

  2. AT&T: “This will spur innovation and economic growth, because fewer competitors and less choice for consumers always equals innovation and economic growth! FREE MARKET 4EVER!”

    Sprint: “How DARE AT&T buy a major competitor! That’s anti-competitive! We at Sprint/NEXTEL would never consider such an act!!”

    God, I fscking hate corporations.

    ——RM

  3. Sprint just proved that this merger will increase competition. If the merger truly decreased competition and lead to a distinct possibility of price fixing and collusion, Sprint’s CEO would quietly invite AT&T’s CEO to a game of golf. Then, over the next two months, prices in the cellphone industry would mysteriously rise.

    Vigorously and publicly complaining as they did about the merger just proves one singlepoint: that the market is one where secret collusion with AT&T isn’t a possibility and all they fear is a stronger, more attractive competitor who will win over some of their customer base.

    Earth calling Sprint: Desist with your industrial-strength ” rel=”nofollow”>whining about a more capable competitor and get with the game plan about playing the game in a free-market economy, where customers can vote with their feet.

  4. Sprint: “Damn it!!, now we are the crappiest network available…. we must counter this asap!!, quick.. complain about anti trust and toss in the word monopoly and anything else you can find in the barrel of panic and last ditch efforts”

  5. OK, so let Verizon buy Sprint, then pick up any regional CDMA stragglers that Verizon hasn’t already bought up, while AT&T buys T-Mobile and… well, I guess there aren’t any regional GSM stragglers, and then we’ll have the kind of simple two-party choice that we all know and love so dearly! Then someone can start up rogue pirate independent phone carriers using the old bandwidth left over from analog TV… Actually there’s no phone service here in Dank Wattle, WA, so I guess I really don’t care.

  6. “..and expanding service to 95 percent of the U.S. population.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought AT&T already covers 97% of the population. At least I think that’s what I remember from their ads back when they were fighting Verizon about coverage.

  7. The American brand of capitalism is only one step away from monopoly — and in many cases not even that competitive, especially for utilities and transportation. Why should we plebians expect that to change? Constantly reminded how evil monarchies/monopolies are, we all stand powerless as international corporations scramble as fast as they can to consolidate into global duopolies and, yes, regional monopolies. As long as it’s a Wall-St traded entity where a shareholder has the illusion of influence, then Americans just shrug and say it must be okay. Well, the track record of the corporation is plain to see. For every Warren Buffett that makes out well, there are millions of schmucks who are used and abused by the corporation — leading to declining health, wealth, and quality of life as documented thoroughly in numerous studies of our modern society. Instability (boom and bust) is the hallmark of popular corporate governance which seeks to exploit the poorest laborer while soaking the most customers at the highest prices and most limited choices possible. Replace humans with machines, then upcharge customers because they don’t have the customer service than a trained human offers. Bundle, obfuscate, bait and switch. Wave patriotic flags while shutting down all the domestic facilities (except corporate offices in Manhattan, of course). Keep the populace numbed with a steady stream of television, video games, corn syrup, and consumerist propaganda – bigger is better!

    Oh, how grand to be the consumer during what promises to be the decline of modern Rome. What great wonderful freedom there is to have the amazing choice between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum for everything. A or B, virtually indistinguishable from each other, take your pick!

    There is only one answer to incessantly growing corporate power which today is greater than any national government: reasonable but strict global regulation to balance that power. If you don’t agree, then please explain why it is acceptable to you that General Electric paid no taxes last year: not one penny!!!

    Since the gold holders are also the ones that practically own government outright, I’d go further and propose that independent consumer advocates should be, by law, appointed to the corporate boards and that all corporate board meetings should be videotaped and broadcast for the whole world to see. Only then will democracy persist for the benefit of the >90% of us who aren’t billionaires.

    Yes, AT&T and Verizon will share 90% of the mobile telecommunications in the USA, because it’s the American way, and because We The People are too stupid, powerless, and distracted to stop it. And we’ll keep paying the prices that our corporate masters demand because the FCC is busy golfing with the corporate board, instead of investigating the obvious price gouging that occurs every day.

    1. A-fsckin-men! Glad to see not everyone on MDN is a tinhat tea party loon. Or maybe you are–plenty of individual tea partiers totally get what you are saying and rightly blast government’s role in the capture/enabling/coverup cycle. Too bad so many of them let themselves get cooped by the corporate-funded national AstroTurf organizations and end up blathering about black men’s birth certificates, or they might be a useful movement!

    2. I agree mostly with your analysis but your solution:
      “reasonable but strict global regulation to balance that power?”
      Who would you give power to regulate such things? The EU? The U.N.? They’ll become just as corrupt as everyone else.

      Videotaping corporate board meetings may help sometimes, but most boards don’t really know what’s going on in the innards of their companies. You really need strong, independent auditors on the financials. The ratings and auditing companies should have zero ties to the banks and other corporations.

      Terms limits of 12 years for all congressmen would also be a great thing.

      1. Synth, perhaps you are correct that all humans inherently tend toward corruption. However, if the planet developed coherent international law, then corporations wouldn’t have the luxury of nation-hopping to find the most lax regulations, tax havens, and slave camps. After 50,000 years, you’d think we’d all have learned to work together as one planet. The UN is the best we’ve been able to develop thus far, but it is undermined at every turn by increasingly powerful corporate influence. The lobbying efforts of these corporate elitists have in many cases directly influenced individual governments to stop international cooperation. Such cooperation might lead to peace or, just as dangerous, fair trade, which might hurt profits. Can’t have that, now, can we?

  8. Sprint can merge with no problem, but…

    As if Sprint’s buyout and merger with Nextel put it nipping at the heels of ATT or Verizon.

    Sprint just doesn’t like the thought of being last among the national carriers. As long as T-Mobile is behind them, they are always in third place and that sounds better in any article then saying last place!

  9. there won’t be any real competition until the consumer can use any phone on any network. Sprint’s weird network helps them remain irrelevant for most Americans, not mention the rest of the world.

  10. After the Justice Dept. demanded the breakup of ATT, Ed Whitacre rose to the top of the slice called Southwestern Bell. He proceeded to put the whole thing back together one merger at a time, renaming it SBC, with Cingular for mobile. He got approval from Justice every time. Once he had all the pieces, he took the AT&T name back also.

    Justice Department philosophy changes with each administration, so it’s no wonder nothing makes any sense.

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