New York Attorney General and nine other states file lawsuit to block T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger

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Just as the rumors suggested, a group of state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit to block the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the lawsuit today, which also includes state attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The complaint has been filed in the state of New York.

In their lawsuit, this group of state attorneys general argue that if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge, consumers will be harmed because competition in wireless will be “lessened substantially” and prices for mobile services “are likely to be higher than they otherwise would be”. The group also argues that the quality and quantity of wireless servies are “likely to be less than they otherwise would” if the deal is approved and that “innovation will likely be reduced”.

Jobs are another major focus of the lawsuit. The attorneys general argue that the deal will harm independent wireless dealers and that carrier consolidation will lead to a “substantial loss” of retail jobs and lower pay for workers.

The attorneys general say that their investigation found that many of T-Mobile and Sprint’s claimed merger benefits are “unverifiable” and that they could be only be delivered several years into the future, if at all, but that the combined company would “immediately have the power and incentive to raise prices, while cutting quality.” They go on to argue that any efficiencies that may be gained from the merger would be outweighed by the harm to competition and consumers.

Before filing the lawsuit, the states involved gave consideration to T-Mobile and Sprint’s claims that rural coverage will be improved as part of the merger. However, the group says that T-Mobile has yet to provide any plans to build new cell sites in areas that wouldn’t otherwise be served by either T-Mo or Sprint.

Here’s what New York Attorney General Letitia James said about the lawsuit:

“When it comes to corporate power, bigger isn’t always better. The T-Mobile and Sprint merger would not only cause irreparable harm to mobile subscribers nationwide by cutting access to affordable, reliable wireless service for millions of Americans, but would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities here in New York and in urban areas across the country. That’s why we are going to court to stop this merger and protect our consumers, because this is exactly the sort of consumer-harming, job-killing megamerger our antitrust laws were designed to prevent.”

Source: NY Attorney General

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  • MisterListerSir

    competition in wireless will be “lessened substantially”

    Sprint will die no matter what. There. will. be. three.

    So, Dear AGs, pray tell: How does letting it go bankrupt benefit the consumer or competition?

    Nah, man. It’s not that you care about competition. It’s because VZW and AT&T want to be able to gobble up all that yummy, yummy spectrum once Sprint finally does crumble….and they pay you well.

    The merger gives T-Mobile more customers, more spectrum, and greater ability to compete in areas where carriers do not normally compete, such as Cable. Which, if you’re paying attention, means *more* competition, not less.

    • Fabian Cortez

      So, Dear AGs, pray tell: How does letting it go bankrupt benefit the consumer or competition?

      Nah, man. It’s not that you care about competition. It’s because VZW and AT&T want to be able to gobble up all that yummy, yummy spectrum once Sprint finally does crumble….and they pay you well.

      If there is value, and there is, then someone will make a purchase.

      If they make a deal with Dish, that provides Dish a path to finally deploying their spectrum.

      The merger gives T-Mobile more customers, more spectrum, and greater ability to compete in areas where carriers do not normally compete, such as Cable. Which, if you’re paying attention, means *more* competition, not less.

      T-Mobile is growing organically just fine. They are also purchasing spectrum just fine (see 600 MHz and the recent 24 GHz and 28 GHz auction).

      Mergers never create and/or keep jobs and competition is rather strong at the moment.

      • MisterListerSir

        So…hope?

        Maybe someone else will pick it up?

        …okay.

        • Fabian Cortez

          So…hope?

          Maybe someone else will pick it up?

          …okay.

          I have zero care for what happens to Sprint.

          What I do know is that the merger between carrier #3 and #4 will not have a positive effect on the industry. Contrary to what all of the merger proponents’ literature states.

        • MisterListerSir

          What I do know is that the merger between carrier #3 and #4 will not have a positive effect on the industry.

          That’s not what you know. That’s what you believe. Cellular carriers branching out with 5G and taking on the Cable industry does indeed sound awfully positive to me.

          (But that’s just what I believe)

          It seems we agree at least that they need to be bought. So that’s a start. :)

          T-Mobile buys them, Dish buys them…either way someone buys Sprint or sprint dies the slow lonely death. The question is what difference it makes who does it. Honestly, I’d be ok with Dish or T-Mobile. Dish is going to use the spectrum at some point, so they’d be “on the field” regardless. Same/same at that point.

        • Fabian Cortez

          The question is what difference it makes who does it.

          That’s the entire point; it makes a difference.

          Fictitious Company A cannot continue to buy Companies B through Z ad infinitum in the United States of America.

        • MisterListerSir

          ad infinitum

          Love the hyperbole. Glad I recognized it or I’d have to ask who it was that was even remotely suggesting such a thing… /s

      • Dummy Up Meathead

        “T-Mobile is growing organically just fine.”

        Yeah, at this rate, they would overtake Verizon in 10 years? 20?

        • Fabian Cortez

          “T-Mobile is growing organically just fine.”

          Yeah, at this rate, they would overtake Verizon in 10 years? 20?

          This is irrelevant.

          Verizon isn’t the end all and be all and should not be the reason to eliminate competition and/or jobs.

  • monkeysoup

    After seeing the list of states, I am more ashamed than ever of being from Colorado. This state is becoming a liberal cesspool.

    • Fabian Cortez

      After seeing the list of states, I am more ashamed than ever of being from Colorado. This state is becoming a liberal cesspool.

      How convenient of you to leave out Michigan, Mississippi, and Wisconsin.

      Let’s leave the politics aside.

      • MisterListerSir

        Let’s leave the politics aside.

        How is this anything but political?

        • Fabian Cortez

          How is this anything but political?

          This is about two wireless carriers attempting to merge and a group of state AGs suing to block in an effort to preserve jobs and competition.

          It is no more political than when the DOJ sued to block the AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger in 2011.

        • MisterListerSir

          …which was also political.

          By definition. It’s the government.

          Politics doesn’t have to be negative. (In fact, it really shouldn’t be.)

      • monkeysoup

        Nevermind.

      • marque2

        Michigan and Wisconsin are also liberal cesspools – I guess of the 8 that leaves one outlier. Maybe he has a point.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Michigan and Wisconsin are also liberal cesspools – I guess of the 8 that leaves one outlier. Maybe he has a point.

          Assuming your statement is factual.

          How convenient of you to leave out Mississippi by considering it an “outlier.”

        • marque2

          I didn’t leave it out – do you know what outlier means? By my count one conservative state.

    • Trevnerdio

      Man, we’re moving there at some point this year and I keep hearing that :( really bums me out

    • Andrew Singleton

      That’s weird considering the economy has absolutely exploded as it became bluer.

    • mjfadaway

      I’m in Colorado as well. Considering relocating to Texas.

  • Nikitao1

    And yet they let At&t absorb time Warner … This happening because Tmobile is a subsidiary to Deutsche Telekom, and they don’t want to give a foreign entity that much sales power in the states. 150% guarantee that’s why this is happening.
    I also guarantee these politics are fueled by the two monsterous companies (At&t and Verizon) that currently rule the TV, Internet and Mobile world. It’s all money and power, and it has the quaking in their boots what a company like T-Mobile could do if it had the same money and customer base. I believe every word John Legere says because he is an action man. He turned the company around, he will continue to help T -Mobile persevere into the future. The sad thing will be when Sprint goes bankrupt and the two Giants simply go and gobble up their bandwidths.

  • Dummy Up Meathead

    Ridiculous comment.

  • Well, I see the AT&T / Verizon payment got transferred okay.

  • MissedCall

    So the NY PUC approves but the AG doesn’t?

  • Mike McDonald

    I think it was Team of Experts last August.

    • Which they want to charge customer for. Transfer me to India for free please thanks!

  • marque2

    Actually yes – they are all looking for a kickback so they can claim they got setting for their states. Makes good fodder for the next political aspiration. These states almost always do this. It is a racket.

    • Fabian Cortez

      Actually yes – they are all looking for a kickback so they can claim
      they got setting for their states. Makes good fodder for the next
      political aspiration. These states almost always do this. It is a
      racket.

      Do you have any evidence of this?

  • Mikey Styles

    It’s pretty sad that NBC/Universal is allowed then AT&T/ DirecTV…..followed by AT&T/Time Warner to become even bigger is allowed. We literally have no Cable Satellite TV or Internet options across the country. We are stuck between rock & hard place….no one threw a fit then. Now when you have 2 companies who will eventually fizzle out that want to merge with an actual plan to become profitable & competitive it’s an issue!!?? GTFO our elected officials are a damn nightmare since it’s all about who funds them or has money to lobby against them in how they sway any proper decision making. I’m not too certain on this merger either from certain perspectives but seriously it’s better than allowing AT&T or Verizon to gobble them up or pieces of them up later. That’s just an even bigger disaster. Hopefully this gets worked out in the end.

    • Acdc1a

      Who needs pay TV? No one. I think at this point with pay phones being a thing of the past you can’t argue that no one needs wireless. The problem is this isn’t the same business it was just 5 years ago.

      • vrm

        you do NOT NEED wireless in the sense you imply- that is unlimited data on the cheap.

        If you carry a cheap phone with quad band GSM and maybe also CDMA radio, do not put a sim card in it. You can then make a 911 call from anywhere you catch a signal from any carrier. This is the only thing you actually NEED- everything else is a convenience.

        You pay for convenience.

      • (J²)

        You do realize that although people do not pay for traditional TV service anymore, they do still subscribe to some online video service which allows them to watch live TV? These services still have to compete with these larger companies (or in some cases work with these competitors to access content) which does actually put the squeeze on smaller players.

        Tradition TV is dying but TV is not dead.

        Even if you look at landlines, they still exist primarily in the workplace but as VoIP.

        The only difference is these services now run over the internet, it does not completely change the underlying operations.

        Which only validates the arguments for T-Mobile and Sprint. At the top of the pyramid (if you will) you have internet.

        This would not be a big deal if America weren’t the most corrupt country in the world.

  • randian

    Where were these guys when AT&T and Verizon were buying up everybody under the sun?

    • Acdc1a

      The magic number to the powers that be has always been 4 carriers. Forget how the business has changed, it has to be 4. This merger is still very likely to happen though.

  • ChiTownT3x

    Honestly these people must be getting checks from Verizon and AT&T at this point. Even if your not keen on the idea of a merger there really isn’t any point in fighting it because Sprint will go under soon enough. At least with the merger Tmo could get a good chunk of spectrum vs it all suddenly going to Verizon/ATT and the same people who are against the current merger would suddenly be fine with them getting it.

    • Gamecrazy35

      Wow! Looks like the Verizon and AT&t got to them and pay them off cuz I mean this lawsuit makes no sense whatsoever and furthermore every promise that T-Mobile has made us this far has been kept why start doubting them now I hope we have a smarter court system and see the BS this is causing and deny the lawsuit all the way and let this merger happen because all this merger claims is the same thing that was the concerns of the DOJ as well as the FCC and the FCC is happy and content and the DOJ is almost there so obviously this is just another ploy to drag the merger out even longer and we need to just stop playing these games shut them down and let the merger happen or what they could do is put a clause in it and say that T-Mobile is going to keep these promises that they’re making and if they don’t then they will have to pay big penalties why doesn’t anybody think of that put that in the contract that secures everything from all places including the DOJ the FCC and this silly lawsuit.

  • Vinny

    EMBARRASSING TO SEE SOLID BUSINESS DEALS GET BURNED BY CORRUPT DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS.

    • Fabian Cortez

      EMBARRASSING TO SEE SOLID BUSINESS DEALS GET BURNED BY CORRUPT DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS.

      There is nothing embarrassing about preserving competition (read: innovation, low prices, etc.) and jobs.

      • Albert Orange

        But these stupid politicians (and you apparently) are too stupid to see the bigger picture. Broadband coverage and competition is a joke in the US. Sure… when you look at them as “Wireless cell phone companies”, then yes… you are reducing the number of competitors. But the new T-Mobile and Sprint merged company would be in a position to build a massive 5G network that could be a new competitor to the cable/ISP industry… and if there is anyone who needs a new competitor in their markets… it is Comcast, Charter, Cox, etc. We need to stop looking at them as “cell phone companies” when they have the ability to be much more. Besides…. there are plenty of cheap MVNO services for customers to choose from.

  • Danno

    would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities here in New York and in urban areas across the country

    Urban areas have the BEST coverage available, followed by suburban, then rural. So since urban coverage isn’t the issue, the issue must be racial since you point out minorities. Way to go making this a racial issue!!!