updated 12:35 pm EDT, Tue September 6, 2011
Sprint joins DOJ in filing lawsuits versus ATT
Sprint decided to seize the opportunity of the DOJ lawsuit against AT&T and T-Mobile on Tuesday by suing the two carriers itself. The DC-based lawsuit accuses the rival carriers of violating Section 7 in the Clayton Antitrust Act. A merger would "entrench the duopoly control" of AT&T and Verizon, Sprint said, giving them over three quarters of the cellphone market.
Further arguments touched on those points Sprint has used in earlier testimony or formal complaints, such as that it would let AT&T squeeze its network or discourage device deals with smaller networks.
In spite of claims to the contrary, prices would likely go up, Sprint said.
AT&T has always rejected the accusations and has tried to assuage features of what would happen, albeit with little success. It always states that there would still be ample competition, citing four or five carriers in most areas, but often consciously omits the much smaller market share and regional nature of many of the companies. AT&T may have also inadvertently sabotaged its own case after it unintentionally posted an unredacted filing that showed it only needed $3.8 billion to reach 95 to 97 percent of the US with LTE, not the $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile.
Both AT&T and T-Mobile are expected to contest the Sprint lawsuit and refute its claims. T-Mobile may have the strongest reason of all given that clauses might exist that could deny it $6 billion in total break-up payouts, leaving it both without a corporate savior and cash to boost its fortunes.