Judge Allows Sprint and C-Spire (Cellular South) To File Lawsuit Against AT&T/T-Mobile Merger


U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle has agreed to allow Sprint and C-Spire (formerly Cellular South) to go forward with their joint lawsuit against the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. C-Spire is claiming the merger would have a negative effect on their roaming services.

Sprint on the other hand found the majority of their claims thrown out. Judge Huvelle was not buying their claims that an AT&T and T-Mobile merger would hurt the market for wireless airwaves needed to serve customers and network development. Huvelle also threw out Sprint’s claims that AT&T-Mobile would hurt the market for backhaul services, core network and remote locations.

Sprint’s vice president of litigation Susan Haller said a statement:

“Along with the Justice Department and a bi-partisan group of Attorneys General from seven states and Puerto Rico, Sprint has concluded that the transaction would give AT&T the ability to raise prices, thwart competition, stymie innovation, diminish service quality and stifle choice for millions of American consumers. We are pleased that the Court has given us the chance to continue fighting to preserve competition on behalf of consumers and the wireless industry.”

C-Spire’s VP of Strategic & Government Relations Eric Graham said:

“The Court’s ruling today will ensure that all parties harmed by AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile will have the benefit of a fair hearing. C Spire is pleased that it will have the opportunity to continue its fight for American consumers, and for the principles of competition and innovation that should drive the wireless industry.”

What did AT&T have to say about all of this? Well, they didn’t sound too pleased with the ruling with AT&T Senior Executive VP and General Counsel Wayne Watts saying:

“We are pleased with the ruling that dismisses the vast majority of the claims of Sprint and CellSouth. We believe the limited, minor claims they have left are entirely without merit.”

AT&T-Mobile now has to fight a war on two fronts with the government attempting to block the merger and now a joint suit from Sprint and C-Spire. Sprint’s strategy against the merger hasn’t exactly been the smartest leaving most of the work up to antitrust enforcers who tend to protect consumers, rather than competitors.

A hearing for the case has been scheduled for December 9th. My vote? T-Mobile stays exactly where they are right now. America needs options.

[Via Reuters]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I guarantee the day after the FCC blocks the T-Mobile acquisition, Sprint will announce they’re buying T-Mobile.

    1. Sprint buying T-Mobile is better than ATT buying t-mobile. There would at least be 3 options left. if ATT succeeds with buying T-mo, then there’s a good chance that VZW would end up swallowing sprint. We’d be left with two major carriers who keep increasing the co-pay to buy new phones.

      1. Id be all for Sprint buying TMo.  Id be for any of these small companies merging other than Verizon and ATT. The two giants need to go and stay at the top. Let the small bottom feeders grow a little larger if possible.

      2. Well… it would certainly be hypocritical. Even if it would be a better alternative, it would still be Sprint crying out publicly against evil, then becoming themselves the lesser of two evils. 

    2. I would be very surprised. Sprint doesn’t even have the money to expand their network, I doubt they have “let’s buy T-Mobile” money.

      1. Did you not see the article a couple days ago about how sprint plans to have 4g available to 250million american’s by the end of 2012, beginning of 2013? They are expanding. 

        It would be messy, but I also feel that if sprint and tmobile were to merge it would be a good thing. When you have 3 people all keeping eachother honest as far as price and customer service, well that’s called checks and balances. And we could only profit.

        1. I did indeed see various articles stating that Sprint plans to have WiMax/LTE available to 250 million people. However, I read articles about all kinds of things, and just because something was written does not make it so, or even realistic. Sprint has been hemorrhaging customers; they’ve lost 101,000 customers under contract in the second quarter alone.

          As of July (I haven’t looked at the newest report, but I’m sure they didn’t mount a massive comeback in the third quarter), they’ve also reported a loss of $847 million, and their stock fell 17% while AT&T added 331,000 contracted customers and Verizon had a net gain of 1.3 million contract customers. With that said, and given Sprint’s past track record, do you really think that they’ll have WiMax and/or LTE available to over 83% of Americans in a year? Anything is possible, but “unlikely” is being optimistic, at best.
           Even if Sprint did manage to buy T-Mobile, it would be more than messy, they’re not even compatible networks (GSM or CDMA). Meaning that one or the other eventually would have to be switched – which creates a whole other slew of problems – it wouldn’t be a good thing for either company. As for three corporate entities “keeping each other honest” – NO. Nobody is keeping anybody “honest”, these are major corporations, not three guys in a bar. What I do see is price fixing, and that’s just for starters.
           The sale of T-Mobile is inevitable, Deutsche Telekom wants to sell T-Mobile USA, and while the DOJ and SEC can prevent AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile, they can’t prevent DT from selling T-Mo either, so it will be sold, it’s just a question of who is going to end up owning them (and no, Google should NOT buy T-Mo, that’s a terrible idea if you like Android , but that’s another subject completely).
           I have plans to win a Nobel Prize in physics before I’m 45. While that is unlikely, it’s more likely than Sprint having Wi/Max and/or LTE available to 83%+ of Americans in a year.
           I would love for Sprint to prove me wrong, but I just don’t see it happening.

    3. They already tried that, but failed.. They couldn’t offer as much as AT&T because there would be enormous costs involved due to CDMA vs GSM .. one of them would have to be converted to the other,.. As a T Mobile user I would not give up my GSM, and I would bail for AT&T if they did it.. It also doesn’t help that smart phones cost what they do now. It gets really expensive to replace users phones to match whatever technology they would end up using.. at least with AT&T your phone would continue operating while the 3G/4G was slowly converted. It would be less messy.. Still, I am against either of them merging.. I would much rather see the US branch spun off and re-branded and offered up for sale in stocks or something.. I’d buy some.

  2. Come on sprint, there really is no complaint for you to make other than that it will make you tiny in comparison. People are already leaving you because of crappy service, you just jealous that you didn’t think of it first.

    1. I agree Sprint is small in comaprison but what facts do you have that people are leaving Sprint?

      They are actually growing and from the latest reports by Consumer Reports and other such services have one of the best customer service in the carrier industry.

      1. Yeah. T-mobile used to be #1 in customer service here, and now that the merger is in the works, I can’t get through to customer service without at least an hour wait on hold. If anything, I’ll be leaving T-mo FOR sprint.

  3. I was against the acquisition at first, but at this point, the damage has been done. If the FCC blocks it, T-Mobile is screwed. Everyone afraid of the merger has been jumping ship ever since the announcement. T-Mobile’s profits have been steadily declining, and it’s to the point that T-Mobile USA isn’t worth it for T-Mobile.

    1. NOPE. Many people havent jumped shit yet

      1. T-Mobile’s subscription base’s falling ~5 percent per quarter since the announcement suggests otherwise. Sad times :(

        1. Means nothing.  Sprint has lost on average 900K customers per quarter, and for a time they’re books looked really bad. (Still do).  Ultimately what it boils down to is a couple of factors.

          1)  T mobile had crappy offerings.  I think they shook the lines up when they started focusing on the phone offerings

          2)  Flat honest….no iphone. (it’s a realy game changer)

          3)  Bad pricing on ‘premium handsets’ outside of android.

          4)  The misinformed consumer and T mobile not doing a good job in selling their product.  NO COMMERCIALS for T MOBILE are ON TV, and the largest time of commercialism, a la NBA, GONE…

          1. so who is that hot girl in the pink dress that i can’t get out of my mind if she isn’t tmob advertisement? i see her all the time!!!

          2. LOL! Me too, but not everybody….

            I see a lame verizon commerical everytime I turn around….

        2. Unlike some other billion dollar companies, they are still posting profits.. They need to hold out until Sep, which they probably will.. and collect their 3 billion cash, and additional 3 billion is other AT&T assets.. AT&T should probably stop selling their bandwidth and other assets just in case it doesn’t go through.. I mean that will be a bonehead move.. they are selling bandwidth to prove they need bandwidth, and the deal to go through.. it’s crazy.. if they sell it, and then it doesn’t go through what 3 billion in assets are they going to give T Mobile ?.. stuff they need ?

  4. This is turning out to be really interesting.

  5. With T-Mobile sticking with an android mostly offering they might be wanting google to buy them out, which would be great for customers just my 2¢

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