Sprint Argues T-Mobile, AT&T Deal Should Be Rejected

May 31, 2011

Today, Sprint formally asked the Federal Communications Commission to block AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile. The Wall Street Journal reports on the gist of the 377-page filling:

Sprint and its clever lawyers have coined a new term to refer to AT&T and Verizon: The "Twin Bell duopolists." Sprint's FCC filing uses some version of the term more than three dozen times in its filing. Here's one:

"The transaction would make AT&T the nation's largest wireless carrier with 118 million subscribers in total and 43 percent of the post-paid market. Coupled with Verizon's more than 94.1 million total subscribers and 39 percent of the post-paid market, the transaction would create a Twin Bell duopoly with 82 percent of post-paid subscribers, over 78 percent of all wireless revenues, and 88 percent of all wireless operating profits. The Twin Bells' market dominance would dwarf Sprint, the sole remaining national carrier, and the rest of the wireless industry, thereby creating an entrenched, anti-competitive duopoly."

GigaOm adds that Sprint said the merger would "undermine two decades of wireless innovation, said Sprint, and could harm the ability for other players to compete on pricing or push their pace of innovation." Sprint added that such a conglomerate would force handset manufacturers and content producers to bend to the wishes of what would become the biggest player in mobile.

AT&T defended the proposed merger saying some of its wireless competitors are "are confusing the public interest with their own particular corporate interest." AT&T said the merger was supported by organized labor like the AFL-CIO and organizations like the NAACP.

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