Sprint Makes Their AT&T-Mo Merger Opposition Official With Appeal to the FCC


Sprint’s been joining committees and speaking their mind on a merger that is sure to shake up the United States wireless industry, but they’d never officially appealed to the FCC. Until today, that is. They’ve requested that the merger be blocked under the usual grounds of stifled competition, innovation and protection of consumerism. Here is the appeal in bulletpoint form:

  • The proposed T-Mobile takeover would harm the broadband economy, competition and consumers. It would reverse two decades of successful U.S. government wireless competition policy and result in higher prices for consumers in the absence of marketplace choices.
  • The proposed T-Mobile takeover would harm innovation and investment. Approval of this transaction would uniquely position the Twin Bell duopolists of AT&T and Verizon as the gatekeepers of the digital ecosystem, stifling innovation and choice in new devices and applications, and the capital markets that fund them.
  • The proposed T-Mobile takeover has no public interest benefit. The transaction would do nothing to relieve AT&T’s purported spectrum congestion. AT&T is already the largest holder of licensed spectrum and unused spectrum and has simply failed to upgrade or invest sufficiently in its network. Moreover, AT&T does not need T-Mobile to expand its LTE network to reach 97 percent of all Americans, because its current spectrum holdings and network already reach approximately 97 percent of the population.

There’s not much more to be said, really. And Sprint does make very valid points that I’m sure a vast majority of consumers and other carriers agree with. Will it be enough to persuade the FCC to block the acquisition from going through? AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have already faced stiff resistance from several governing bodies of our nations, but such is always the case in mergers. (And some pretty big ones have gone off without a hitch in the past, even when a majority of folks wanted otherwise.) [Sprint]


Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. So, why cant they (Sprint) innovate if the merger goes through? Why cant they(Sprint) offer low prices if the merger goes through? If the merger doesnt go through, it is likely Tmobile goes the way of the DoDo, so how is it in the publics interest to deny the merger? All this is, is Sprint wanting uncle sam to keep them competetive. Because they cant be on their own merrit.

    1. It gives AT&T and Verizon more control over market prices which will allow them to temporary price themselves in a way that kills Sprint and then hike up prices soon after.

      1. They could do that now. The merger isnt going to make them lower prices. Sprint isnt competition to either of them. They are more worried about each other.

        1. exactly they don’t compete, it would upset the balance of Verizon/ATT Tmobible/Sprint, it upsets the scale.

          1. So when TMobile eventually closes up, that scale will still be there?

      2. @Jon, really do you belief  VZW or AT&T they`d drop their plan price in the futur for that reason! If so how much cheaper they`r willing to go and for how long? Good try anyway.

    2. AT&T will do exactly what WalMart does when they open a new store in a new town. To stifle the competition, WalMart will mark down there prices so low, that they may loose money or make VERY VERY little profit. They continue this trend until stores around them shut down due to the inability to compete. Then when there is no competition, they slowly raise prices. Honestly, WalMart if in most cases a few cents cheaper on everything, but they are making a killing in profit margins. 

      AT&T could take a smiliair approach in areas where Sprint is strong, takig even more of the pie. You cant compete when they are that big. Plain and simple!

      1. Sprint doesnt compete with them now. As I said, Verizon and AT&T only worry about each other.

    3. @NIsme, why Sprint should drop the price more? already they`r the cheapest so far on the market, and all what I read on the internet people complaining and trashing Sprint in which way they want, and in the same time the same people who`s doing that, they`r unhappy with the carrier who they`r with anyway, so in my opinion Sprint price should stay as is, and any complainers flow the BIG RED and AT&T, both better carriers.

      1. They are the ones saying that it will increase prices, not me. I am just saying, IF the merger goes through, why cant they offer the low pices? I am not saying they should lower their prices, they cant even turn a profit with the prices they have. I am asking how the merger affects their ability to offer the low prices. And, I am pretty sure, Tmobile is cheaper than Sprint.

        1. If the industry is consolidated to two wireless providers they essentially have price control . They would have no need to lower the price . You don’t even have to be better than the other provider . You just have to be good enough to keep them from going to the one other option . If the other provider offers nothing better why leave . The stockholders are about profits and thats it . Understandable but know they would be in a position to raise rates & they would . If this merger goes through Sprint will eventually get killed in roaming charges . Sprint will either have to merge with Verizon or just go belly up if Verizon doesn’t want to take their debt . Kinda reminds me of the healthcare industry over the last dozen years. 

          1. So Sprint could improve their coverage. The they could “offer something better”. In a “free market country”, I cant believe so many people want to have the government stop for-profit, telecom companies from operating in a free manner, yet cry at the thought of not having money hungry companies run the healthcare industry. Seriously, why is it more important to have the government control your gadgets, yet do nothing to protect your health. Something is seriously wrong here.

  2. Having T-Mobile around creates competition by driving innovation forward as well as price competition. Eliminating T-Mobile as a competitor leaves the two giants of the industry (VZW and AT&T) controlling the market with the little guy (Sprint) left out in the cold. They won’t be able to compete against two giants by themselves. And if you’ve never had AT&T as a service provider, let me tell you, their customer service and network performance are below par. A lot of people didn’t buy an iPhone because they didn’t want to be on AT&T. They waited and are now on VZW. The deal is good for AT&T and Dutsch Telekom. There is nothing good in it for consumers or the industry in general. A big pay day for CEO’s who are already overpaid, is what this deal really amounts to.

    1. You are ignoring the fact that TMobile USA is a failing entity. How long do you think it will be before they go away without the merger? My Guess is, not much longer than they would with the merger. They are losing customers, and money at a pretty good pace.

      1. Yeah, but allowing t-mobile to fall instead of an acquisition would allow t-mobile customers to be divided amongst all of the carriers, not just let AT&T absorb them, no? I know most people I’ve spoke with that currently have t-mo don’t want to join AT&T.

        1. I have yet to hear Sprint take this route as the reason for their opposition. That aside, should it not be TMobiles decision on how to exit the market? As a small bussiness owner, whose bussiness has seen better days, IF I was to get a buyout offer, the government should have NO right to tell me I cant sell. Instead of failing.

          1. if your business affects millions of people and an entire market, then yes, it does. 

          2. No it doesnt. And again, this isnt the arguement being put fourth to the regulaters. Really no point in us arguing it.

          3. Nisme – When businesses use very finite resources that are allocated by the government such as physical cables (right of way) and wireless spectrum, the government gets more say over these things.  Most businesses don’t have this problem and are therefore subject to far less regulation.  It’s understandable that it would be in the best interest of the population to not have all of these resources (spectrum, in this case) allocated to the same company or two companies.  This is just to encourage a competitive marketplace, which I think T-Mobile was a big part of.

            This isn’t to say that DT can have no exit strategy, but just that it couldn’t be to one of the big two carriers.  This is all, of course, assuming that the government does in fact deny the merger, which I unfortunately doubt will happen.

          4. @jd, now there is a compelling arguement. I still dont think that Sprint should have anything to say on the matter, considering they were trying to buy TMobile, and even they have had mergers, in wich they garnered more spectrum in the same way. Cant rely on uncle sam to make a company that isnt competitive on their own merrit, to be competitive

      2. They are not losing money, they are still making a profit, just look at their financial statements.  The problem is that DT doesn’t want to deal with them any more.  I realize that they will eventually be bought by someone, but for the love of God, anybody but AT&T.

        1. Okay, they are losing customers, and their profits are declining at a fast pace.

  3. I hope it doesn’t go through.  I’ve been a happy T-Mobile customer for years and I like them as they are.  And also because AT&T would have to still give them 6 billion if it falls through, which I am sure they could use to continue being awesome.

  4. Every point they made has no basis in reality…
    -The merger would *improve* the broadband economy — currently, T-Mo is spending its AWS spectrum on HSPA… AWS is the sweet-spot, globally, for LTE deployment.  Continued existance of T-Mo USA would negate this for all US consumers, as they hold nationwide licenses.  A merger would consolidate this, and allow AT&T to deploy LTE on AWS.
    -Innovation is driven by handset manufacturers and the industry as a whole.  Try as they might, carriers are becoming a dumb-pipe.
    -See point 1 for the public interest… and it would alleviate pressure.  Now they’d have access to T-Mobile’s 2GSM spectrum in addition to their own.  They’d have T-Mo’s infrastructure for faster HSPA service, all they’d have to do is swap the antennas to use AT&T’s frequencies.  And they’d have 700 + AWS for LTE deployment… and most likely be forced to sell their own AWS holdings to Verizon, to create not 2 (as currently exist), but *3* nationwide players in AWS.  And 3 nationwide players at 700/800 mhz for coverage in LTE.  Sorry Sprint… you bought AWS spectrum with the cable companies… your fault if you can’t get them to move on it.  And you have incredible amounts of spectrum at 800… yet you got further into bed with big cable for 2.5 ghz.  Your fault, again.

  5. Sprint is trading at $5.87 right now. AT&T is trading at $31.56. if AT&T’s stock goes up and Sprint’s stock goes down too much further, they will be more ripe for a takeover than T-Mobile. Consider this, AT&T gets T-mobile and Verizon at some point (despite their protests against it) devours Sprint. What does that leave? The two biggest wireless network, one of which no longer offers unlimited data (AT&T). Don’t think it can happen? Ask T-Mobile customers what an AT&T merger will do for them. I know plenty who are bailing right now, long before the deal is even close to being done. They don’t want AT&T’s lackluster customer service and network performance. 

    1. If T-Mobile gets eaten up by AT&T then Verizon can’t possibly buy Sprint.

      Even the most easy going FCC wouldn’t allow only two major cell phone carriers in the US.  And frankly the FCC is anything but easy going these days (that’s a good thing).

  6. The truth is that we can debate this all day long and in the end, AT&T will shove money into the pockets if decision makers to rubber stamp the deal, it will go through, and a bunch of T-Mobile customers who don’t want AT&T will flee to Sprint and VZW. Everyone has a price. AT&T has money and power working for them. As much as some of us may not want the deal to go through, it undoubtedly will. I’m just glad I’m not a T-Mobile customer. I fled AT&T for Sprint and would never go back to them. 

    1. … until Sprint is acquired :-(

    2. Don’t know about that.. here is the rubberstamp the FCC has given them for now.. … This stamp appears to be in red ink not green.

    3. No where to go from T-Mobile.
      Verizon and AT&T are clones of each other as far as being greedy.
      And Sprints 4G footprint in the Tampa area is pathetic.
      MetroPCS has as good of a 4G footprint as Sprint.
      But MetroPCS doesnt have any decent Android phones either.
      Its a no win situation, higher bills or poor 4G coverage.


  7. Im sick of idiots only reading one article of news.  AT&T and T-Mobile have both said rate plans will not change.  Neither Verizon or T-mobile actually have real unlimited data, AT&T is a step ahead by actually being honest about the limit.  Plus AT&T lets you call any cell phone in the U.S without using minutes.  Let Sprint bitch all they want, they will be bankrupt soon and we wont have to worry about it anymore.  How can Sprint criticize AT&T for not building their network? They obviously havent noticed how horrid their own network is.

    1. WTF, who said ATT lets you call any cell without using minutes, its sprint that does that. My brother has ATT he doesn’t get any free mins. So even if they throttle, throttling after 5gb is worse then 2gb limit, really? would you rather have 5gb or 2gb. I never take sides with any big companies they are there to make profit and some do it in a very bad way then the others. Att is the worst when it comes to consumer satisfaction. In the last decade the whole world is getting ahead in broadband and we have fallen behind. We make excuses to charge the consumer more. Yes this merger will go through, I am sure sprint will gain from this as well, there are a lot of people that love t-mobile but hate ATT, they will either go to sprint or verizon, but since verizon is cutting unlimited down the line, I am sure more than half will go towards sprint, specially with the upcoming line up of phones.

      1. Actually AT&T does let you call any cell in the U.S. Because I have that feature dumb ass

      2. that is how bad at&t is, they do offer the mobile to any mobile but if you do not ask for it they will not switch you automatically like sprint did when they started that plan.

    2. Verizon does in fact offer unlimited plans. It is the only plan they give right now. They dont throttle at 5 gigs, in fact I routenly hit 15+ gigs, and have never been throttled, let alone capped. They “reserve the right” to throttle the “top 5%” of users. I have yet to hear of even ONE person being throttled. Like I said, I routenly hit 15 gigs.

      1. yeah, but what happens when Verizon drops unlimited soon, and try to force unlimited owners back to capped data a la AT&T?

  8. Not only that. they would fucked up T-mobile unlimited plans. like AT&T did with mine. plus their would be no competition so what if AT&T loose 6 billion dollars

  9. Interesting that Sprint is whining about the anti-competitive outcome of this merger.  The FCC should be taking a serious look into Sprint’s prepaid shenanigans.  Sprint Prepaid Group (Boost, Virgin, etc.) has upwards of 50% market share in most markets utilizing some of the same tactics they are now complaining about with AT&T/T-Mobile.

    1. But their overall market share on CDMA is so much smaller compared to the literal chokehold on the GSM market AT&T will have with approval of this merger. 

  10. Way to go Sprint !

    Send the death star packing FCC !


  11. In all honesty, as a T-Mobile customer myself, I do see the appeal in AT&T’s buyout. One of T-Mobile’s weakest links is its 3G coverage. I’ve found that there are a lot of places that I only receive EDGE at, which comes from towers leased from AT&T.

    As a previous AT&T subscriber, I think the cons GREATLY outweigh the pros here. AT&T’s commitment to improving its network is a joke, and I seriously doubt they will put T-Mobile’s network to good use, should the buyout go through. I’ve also been through AT&T’s forced “upgrade” process before (which is what well happen to all T-Mobile users with T-Mobile devices if the buyout succeeds), and it was the catalyst that got me to jump ship from AT&T in the first place. I’m sorry, but an HTC Hero is NOT “comparable” to your shitty messaging phones, AT&T.

    1. And I never get stuck on an EDGE network anywhere around here, and my mom gets 4G coverage on her G2 everywhere she goes.

      You not getting 3G in your area =/= sucky 3G coverage everywhere.

      1. And you getting 3G coverage in your area =/= great network everywhere.

  12. Well l don’t like att as my carrier company,cause they charge for everything,it’s a realy bad company!!!

    1. Not really

  13. First if all why is Sprint bitching in the first place they merged with dumb Nextel noone said anything about that but they just gotta say something. AT&T has a better network than Sprint because I had Sprint and it sucked and since I got AT&T Ive gotten nothing but good coverage anyway AT&T and Verizon are on top anyways so tmobile should want to be included so they won’t die away like Nextel almost did. I just wish y’all would stop bitching, what happens happens so shut the fuck up and get a life you… <>

    1. Because them merging with nextel didn’t really do anything to stifle competition. Do you just not get it? AT&T will control almost all of the GSM spectrum which will mean the get to do whatever the hell they want with it. That will cause your bill to go up too buddy. I like T-Mobile and their fair pricing and excellent customer service.
       I think AT&T and T-Mo should just work out some sort of mutual agreement to build out LTE on the same bands so it can be equally shared/roamed on so we can all be happy. That will never happen though because AT&T is too damn greedy. 

  14. Sprint’s just pissed that they didn’t buy T-Mobile

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