updated 11:10 am EST, Tue December 13, 2011
C Spire and Sprint to wait and see on ATT T-Mobile
C Spire and Sprint together were granted motions on Tuesday to freeze their lawsuits against AT&T over its proposed takeover of T-Mobile. Filed in tandem with AT&T, they agreed to stop in the wake of the Department of Justice staying its case. The two CDMA carriers implied they would resume action if AT&T tried restarting the takeover process.
The C Spire and Sprint moves were anticipated, but also reflect a deal that many consider at least stalled, if not out of contention. AT&T and T-Mobile together said they were considering all possibilities for what to do next, including either more drastic concessions to try and clear the deal before a resumption in February. Their remarks that they might not change the deal have been constituted as admissions that they may drop the merger entirely, since neither the DOJ nor the FCC considered the existing terms acceptable.
AT&T has repeatedly insisted that the $39 billion proposed deal was absolutely necessary to go beyond 80 percent coverage with LTE-based 4G and would create jobs without hurting competition. The volume of its claims and political lobbying cost it the deal by encouraging regulators to both double-check facts and question the sincerity of motives.
C Spire and Sprint have both been concerned that AT&T eliminating the fourth-largest national carrier would create a duopoly between AT&T and Verizon that could dictate terms such as smartphone exclusives or the costs for carrying data.