Sprint Formally Request the FCC to Deny AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

Posted by at 3:57 pm on May 31, 2011

Sprint on Tuesday formally filed an attempt with the FCC to block the AT&T buyout of T-Mobile. The Petition to Deny argued that no amount of cell site divestitures or requirements could eliminate the competitive problems. Most of its talking points were familiar and centered on the deal as a reversal of the progress made since AT&T’s original monopoly was forcibly broken up during the 1980s.

The move would also put too much power in the hands of two carriers, both of which could unfairly punish Sprint and other smaller providers beyond just size, Sprint said. Since Sprint has to pay a portion of the cost of a cell site to landline providers, AT&T and Verizon could use their influence more than usual to squeeze Sprint on network costs and give it few alternatives.

Sprint went on to note that AT&T contradicted itself on spectrum, telling investors it had enough spectrum as-is at one stage but claiming to regulators at another that it had no choice but to buy T-Mobile. AT&T has publicly acknowledged that it has been sitting on spectrum but argued that it was necessary for future network plans.

Other arguments noted that AT&T would have a GSM monopoly in the US, that T-Mobile was more competitive than AT&T tried to portray, and that promises of wider LTE expansion rang hollow as they didn’t have a timetable and didn’t need the T-Mobile deal to go through.

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