Feeds

Surprise! Sprint denounces AT&T-Mobile deal

Still no word from Verizon

Boost IT visibility and business value

In a move that will surprise absolutely no one, Sprint Nextel has officially announced its opposition to AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile.

"Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition," the company's senior vice president for Governmental Affairs Vonya McCann said in a canned statement on Monday, adding: "This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it."

What McCann didn't explicitly say is that the party that would be hurt most by the acquisition would be her company. If the buyout goes through, Sprint would be a distant third in a three-horse race, with its 50 million subscribers well behind Verizon's 93 million and the proposed AT&T-Mobile's 129 million.

According to Sprint's statement, "AT&T's proposed $39 billion takeover" of the country's fourth-largest carrier "would reverse nearly three decades of actions by the U.S. government and the courts that modernized and opened U.S. communications markets to competition."

McCann and her company have one receptive ear at the Federal Communications Commission, which – along with the Department of Justice and possibly the Federal Trade Commission – must approve the takeover acquisition: the unnamed FCC official who told The Wall Street Journal that approval would be "a steep climb."

Big Phone is undeterred – in public, at least. "We understand that Congress, the DOJ, the FCC, as well as wireless consumers will have questions about the transaction," an AT&T spokesman told the WSJ. No problem, he asserted. "We look forward to answering and addressing those questions. We are confident that the facts will demonstrate that the deal is in the public interest and that competition will continue to flourish."

Sprint can handle itself in a fair fight, McCann says, and "stands ready to compete in a truly dynamic marketplace." But if the acquisition is approved, Sprint's statement argues, "The wireless industry moving forward would be dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically integrated companies with unprecedented control over the U.S. wireless post-paid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs, such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to compete."

As did AT&T, McCann also waved the ol' Stars 'n' Stripes in its argument, asserting that stopping the acquisition is their patriotic duty. "So on behalf of our customers, our industry and our country," she said, "Sprint will fight this attempt by AT&T to undo the progress of the past 25 years and create a new Ma Bell duopoly."

Curiously silent – so far – in this war of words has been AT&T's bête noire, Verizon Wireless, which is currently neck and neck with Big Phone for the title of el numero uno in the US wireless market.

Silent in public, that is – we can only assume that the phone lines linking Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and Washington DC have been burning up since news of the proposed acquisition broke just over a week ago.

Wouldn't it be a lovely irony if those frantic Verizon lobbyists were cajoling their regulatory contacts over AT&T's phone lines? ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.