Oct 1st, 2011

AT&T has filed motions to dismiss both of the complaints filed by Sprint and Cellular South (now C Spire Wireless) to block their merger with T-Mobile. AT&T argues that both carriers are only in it for themselves and not the interests of the general public like they claim. In a surprising turn of events AT&T went on to reveal that Cellular South was actually trying to negotiate privately with AT&T (before their lawsuit) that they would support the merger if,

“AT&T would agree not to engage in facilities-based competition in Mississippi. This inappropriate proposal confirms that what Cellular South fears is competition, not lack of competition.”

Snaps. Cellular South said they would prepare and have a statement on the allegations from AT&T later. However, Sprint’s PR guy, John Taylor spoke out on AT&T’s actions saying,

“AT&T promised more than two weeks ago that they would take this step. They only reason that AT&T do today is that a Federal judge issued a court order requiring them to do so. And neither motion has any merit whatsoever. Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act expressly provides for the rights of private parties to file antitrust litigation and that’s exactly what Sprint and C-Spire have done.

Look for formal responses to be filed in Court next Friday. The judge has scheduled oral arguments for October 24. It should be an interesting day in court.

On another note, Sprint was pleased to hear that today the U.S. Department of Justice has added the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to its antitrust lawsuit against AT&T. If this transaction goes forward, AT&T will have 56 percent of the island’s wireless business. By any measure this will give consumers in Puerto Rico less choice and lead to higher prices.

For our part at Sprint we will continue to stick up for competition and will work with Judge Huvelle as she seeks to efficiently try both this case and the Justice Department’s case which both seek to stop the clearly anti-competitive proposed transaction.”

Att’a boy, Sprint. Give ’em hell. What do you guys think about all of these antics? Are Sprint and Cellular South really only in it for themselves and not “the public” as they claim? Does it even matter? All I know is I don’t want T-Mobile going anywhere. I like the option of 4 national carriers in the US.

[BusinessWeek via Engadget]

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