T-Mobile, Sprint argue over state AGs’ lawsuit financing as EFF comes out against merger

tmobile-sprint-logos

Last week was big for T-Mobile and Sprint, as their merger got approval from the Department of Justice. There’s still another big hurdle for the deal to clear before it can close, though: a lawsuit from several state attorneys general.

T-Mobile this week asked a judge to force the suing state AGs to share communications related to their lawsuit and reveal who’s financing it. This hints that T-Mo and Sprint could try to fight the lawsuit by arguing that it’s been affected by cost-sharing deals.

Such a deal could indicate “an inference that a party has been induced to support ap articular position,” T-Mo said, adding that, “Such arrangements may, for example, be relevant to credibility.”

The state AGs responded to T-Mobile and Sprint’s request by saying that how they allocate their resources in a legal battle against “deep-pocketed adversaries” are not relevant to any defense and that T-Mo and Sprint “are not entitled to discovery of the financial arrangements of public law enforcement agencies.”

They also said that they tried to settle this issue with T-Mobile and Sprint by assuring them that the financing for their lawsuit didn’t include any private funds and that state budgets are public record, but that T-Mo and Sprint “nevertheless persist with this baseless motion.”

The states have once again asked for the start date of the merger trial to be moved back. It’s currently set for October 7, but the states want to push it back to December 9. They argue that they need more time to prepaire because T-Mobile and Sprint failed to give up all of the details of their settlement with the Department of Justice by the agreed upon deadline of June 28.

There are 14 state attorneys general involved in the lawsuit to block the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. In response to last week’s DOJ approval of the merger, New York AG Letitia James expressed concern:

“I remain deeply concerned about the T-Mobile/Sprint megamerger & the irreparable harm it will cause to millions across the country. Despite approval from the DOJ, the deal is bad for consumers, innovation, and workers. This deal is based on speculative promises & will increase prices for consumers & greatly reduce competition. The American people deserve access to affordable, reliable wireless service & this deal is not the answer.”

eff-logo

In other merger news, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has voiced its opposition to the T-Mobile-Sprint deal. The EFF argues that the merger is anti-competitive and that 5G can reach all Americans using government-regulated spectrum licenses and new policies that promote competition and access.

The group also says that innovation will suffer if the merger is approved because fewer players will be more likely to behave like one another since there’s less competition to battle with. And as for Dish, the EFF believes that “blind trust in a non-existent competitor to do a good enough job to compete with massive, entrenched incumbents is questionable at best.”

You can read the EFF’s full arguments against the T-Mobile-Sprint merger at the link below.

Sources: Bloomberg, EFF

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  • Mike McDonald

    Hmm, so the AGs don’t want to share their collusion? Indeed, are they themselves carrying water for a third party?

    • They don’t want to reveal those AT&T / Verizon paychecks.

      • Fabian Cortez

        They don’t want to reveal those AT&T / Verizon paychecks.

        That’s as ridiculous as saying Sprint and T-Mobile paid off the DOJ and FCC to approve the merger.

        • marque2

          Campaign contributions?

    • Fabian Cortez

      Hmm, so the AGs don’t want to share their collusion? Indeed, are they themselves carrying water for a third party?

      Since when are AGs funded by other entities than tax payers?

  • riverhorse

    The world needs less people like you and your incompetent progenitors, you broke loser and arrogant pickpocket.
    Go crawl back under your rude rock.

    • JJ

      Wow, take a chill pill.

      • riverhorse

        I actually did, which toned down the response immensely.

      • Jay Holm

        Exactly, there was absolutely nothing wrong with what that guy said, the federal government isn’t supposed to be corporate welfare, or individual welfare for that matter, this is America, it is up to everyone to prosper, it is just the government’s job to get out of the way, so individuals and businesses can prosper.

        • Francisco Peña

          I liken government to a parent teaching their kids to ride a bike.
          At first we have training wheels on and show them what to do. Eventually we take those training wheels off, and hold them steady as they go down the street. We let them go and they manage to ride. Sure, they may fall and we go and help them up. But we don’t put the training wheels back on. We let them do it, and the more we do, the better they get.

          Yes, some people (disabled) will need training wheels, but the vast majority, don’t.

    • Radical Millennial

      I work as an infosec researcher and consultant in the Detroit area and am self-employed. Many CVEs are attached to my name. I likely make more money than you. However, this isn’t relevant to the topic at hand other than to dispute your claim that I’m a “broke loser” which is laughably false.

      Let’s just cut to the chase and debate the non-aggression principle like I’ve said to the other dude. Can we please do that? I would love to. ❤️ I promise that it will be fun.

  • vrm

    >> The state AGs responded to T-Mobile and Sprint’s request by saying that how they allocate their resources in a legal battle against “deep-pocketed adversaries” are not relevant to any defense and that T-Mo and Sprint “are not entitled to discovery of the financial arrangements of public law enforcement agencies.”

    This shows the contempt that politicians & govt bureaucrats have for the public they claim to represent, esp democrat run governments. Aren’t they supposed to be transparent even to the general public ? I am surprised they didn’t invoke the national secrets act – classified info for national security. Disgusting. I bet disclosures will reveal corruption as always.

    • Francisco Peña

      Obama claimed he’d be the most transparent president, yet still rebuked requests to see the visitor logs when lobbyists and several CEOs would come to visit.

      • Jay Holm

        That POS sealed his records from when he was younger!!!

        • Eric A

          We haven’t seen any of Trump’s records either.

        • marque2

          And what records is he obligated to provide? Last president hid his school record which were “traditionally” provided and noone seemed to care.

        • Eric A

          He isn’t obligated to provide anything – just like Obama who the guy above me ranted about.

        • Fabian Cortez

          That POS sealed his records from when he was younger!!!

          Enough with the ad hominems please.

      • Fabian Cortez

        Obama claimed he’d be the most transparent president, yet still rebuked requests to see the visitor logs when lobbyists and several CEOs would come to visit.

        This is immaterial to any of this.

        However, as the old saying goes, those in glass houses should not throw stones (emphasis mine):

        “White House to Keep Its Visitor Logs Secret” – The New York Times (April 14, 2017)

        WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The White House announced Friday that it would cut off public access to visitor logs revealing who is entering the White House complex and which officials they are meeting, breaking with the Obama administration’s practice and returning a cloak of secrecy over the basic day-to-day workings of the government.

        The decision — which White House officials said was necessary for reasons of national security — was the latest attempt by President Trump, who has promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, to shield his activities from scrutiny. It effectively bars the public from knowing which activists, lobbyists, political donors and others are gaining access to the president and his aides on a daily basis.

        It also is a stark reversal from the policy adopted by President Barack Obama, who voluntarily released more than six million White House visitor records, even as his administration fought successfully in federal court for the right to keep some of the information secret.

        I suggest leaving politics out of this.

    • Fabian Cortez

      >> The state AGs responded to T-Mobile and Sprint’s request by saying that how they allocate their resources in a legal battle against “deep-pocketed adversaries” are not relevant to any defense and that T-Mo and Sprint “are not entitled to discovery of the financial arrangements of public law enforcement agencies.”

      This shows the contempt that politicians & govt bureaucrats have for the public they claim to represent, esp democrat run governments. Aren’t they supposed to be transparent even to the general public ? I am surprised they didn’t invoke the national secrets act – classified info for national security. Disgusting. I bet disclosures will reveal corruption as always.

      The AGs are 100% correct. It is not relevant how they allocate their resources. It is also quite clear where their resources come from: tax payers.

      To suggest state attorney generals are funded by some dark force is as ridiculous as suggesting Sprint and T-Mobile are greasing the DOJ and FCC. Except Sprint and T-Mobile kind of are via this deal with Dish.

  • enigmaco

    I was against the merger in the beginning, but let’s be honest here without t-mobile sprint is pretty much done. I don’t see sprint hanging on much longer, they’re bleeding too much money. Themmerger makes sense. So it’s either let them merge, or let sprint crumble. Either way you’re losing a competitor.

  • Trevnerdio

    Holy mother of licked boots, Batman. The gov’t should never, and I mean NEVER, give out a loan for private enterprise. The private sector succeeds or fails by its own merits, nothing more. That “crony capitalism” that everyone’s talking about? Sounds a bit like the fed gov’t bailing out Fannie Mae, Freddy, GM, Ford, etc. etc. They fed gov’t has no right to line their pockets at the cost of private enterprise with stupid “oversight” and years-long negotiations like this (past what they already do by taxing them to death).

    • Radical Millennial

      Ford was never bailed out. It was GM and Chrysler that took gov’t loans. Detroit and Michigan as a whole were saved from a total economic collapse because of those gov’t loans and they paid all their money back to the gov’t.

      It played a big part in setting the stage in Detroit’s ongoing rebound.

      So what’s next? Are we going to debate the non-aggression principle? We may as well cut to the chase and do just that.

      • Trevnerdio

        Are you arguing semantics, or saying a $9 billion line of credit from the government isn’t a bailout?

        Also, the federal government should have no say in whether a city fails or thrives. You can thank the corrupt politicians in that city for turning it into the shithole that it is today, no amount of federal money will do anything else if the local bureaucracy keeps it all for themselves.

      • marque2

        Actually Ford was bailed out. Ford was lucky because they coincidentally hawked all their factories for 26 billion about a year before the crash. Blind luck. And then because of the unfairness of the government subsidizing competitors – Ford was given money from the government as well.

  • Bryck

    Lol. Everyone wants a piece of that 26 billion pie.

  • Mikhael Avi Giron

    T-Mo said, adding that, “Such arrangements may, for example, be relevant to credibility

    Translation: These AG will do anything for clout.

    • Fabian Cortez

      T-Mo said, adding that, “Such arrangements may, for example, be relevant to credibility

      Translation: These AG will do anything for clout.

      Or maybe trying to preserve competition.

      Please read up on antitrust law.

      • Ummon

        Maybe youre unfamiliar with the health of Sprint…high level: $30B+ in debt is bad, bleeding out prime customers is bad, consistently unfavorable stock recommendations (sell) are bad. Without the merger, Sprint aint gonna make it as the others dive into 5G and beyond which means youre left with 3 anyway. Softbank wants out and they wont continue to pump money into it.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Maybe youre unfamiliar with the health of Sprint…high level: $30B+ in debt is bad, bleeding out prime customers is bad, consistently unfavorable stock recommendations (sell) are bad. Without the merger, Sprint aint gonna make it as the others dive into 5G and beyond which means youre left with 3 anyway. Softbank wants out and they wont continue to pump money into it.

          I am very familiar with Sprint’s “health.” I’ve written about it years ago and lambasted about their floundering.

          That doesn’t mean it is up to T-Mobile, or AT&T and Verizon, to save the day.

  • Francisco Peña

    “Sprint just needs access to capital so that it can invest in its network”
    – How do you plan to get this to work? you expecting someone to magically come in and give Sprint money? or you want someone to purchase Sprint with money to use that spectrum? oh wait.. you just supported TMo’s purchase. They have capital. They plan to invest in expanding and using that spectrum.

    “give Sprint a gov’t backed loan ”
    – ummm why should they give a loan? Don’t free-markets work.. if you can’t survive, then go away or get bought. We all know Sprint can’t survive. Someone wants to buy them and use their spectrum. No different than any other industry merging to create a better company. And if government loans were barometers of success, Solyndra would never have gone bankrupt, nor defaulted on a $535M loan, which the US took a $528M loss on.
    Yes.. let’s give them a loan.

    “paying for Sprint’s debt”
    – Sprint customers are going to pay for it somehow anyways. $25/mo plans aren’t really realistic in long term. But I’m going to tell you a story. once, I was an HOA Board member of an older townhome community. Fees before I got on board (and a few other new Board members) were low (hadn’t risen in 10 yrs prior), everyone happy until then. Some units needed repairs that had been neglected and because there wasn’t enough in reserves to handle the water main breaks and termite infested exteriors (which couldn’t entirely been seen but were neglected anyways). So we came about, raised the rates, slapped an emergency assessment on everyone to help fund repairs and made it looking much nicer. Property values went up, folks happier than they were.

    Could they live in a deteriorating community? sure. but would they want better services, better looking units that were safer and more secure? yup. Same with Sprint. can folks limp with Sprint as it is, or would they like a better Sprint.
    VZW can afford to invest. Folks want cheaper? There are plenty of other low cost carries to go to.

    “Your last paragraph”
    – shows how much of a ranter you are.

    • Jay Holm

      I remember reading quite a while ago that SoftBank was going to invest something like $20bln into Sprint’s network, seems like they never did.

      • Francisco Peña

        yes they did. That was 2012 when Softbank BOUGHT Sprint.

        so 20B later and we’ve not gotten much from Sprint. Compared to when ATT failed to purchase TMo.. the few billion Tmo got from the failed purchase ($5B i think?) got managed to leapfrog TMo over Sprint and pull away from the banana carrier.

        • Jay Holm

          A lot of people give John Legere credit, but I think Neville Ray should be given a lot of credit also, he attended to the integration of MetroPCS (CDMA), I hope he sticks around for at least another 3-4 years to oversee the integration of Sprint into T-Mobile. Sprint for some reason, just can’t handle network integration/network upgrades . . .they just can’t.

        • Fabian Cortez

          yes they did. That was 2012 when Softbank BOUGHT Sprint.

          so 20B later and we’ve not gotten much from Sprint. Compared to when ATT failed to purchase TMo.. the few billion Tmo got from the failed purchase ($5B i think?) got managed to leapfrog TMo over Sprint and pull away from the banana carrier.

          T-Mobile USA received $0 from AT&T post failed merger. That money ($3 billion cash) went straight to Deutsche Telekom.

          T-Mobile received the unused AWS spectrum ($1 billion worth) and John Legere convinced Deutsche Telekom to allow T-Mobile to merge with MetrocPCS, which allowed them to increase CapEx to $4-$4.5 billion annually; this funded the LTE buildout.

          That accounts for $4 billion. The remaining $1 billion you mentioned (“$5B”) does not exist.

        • Francisco Peña

          I said I “thought” it was $5B, and $4B is fairly close. But if you want to nitpick.. go ahead.

          and DT didn’t funnel anything back in, right?

        • Fabian Cortez

          I said I “thought” it was $5B, and $4B is fairly close. But if you want to nitpick.. go ahead.

          and DT didn’t funnel anything back in, right?

          The difference between $5 and $4 is fairly close. The difference between $5 billion and $4 billion is not. $1 versus $1 billion. Or to put it into a better perspective: $1 versus $1,000,000,000.

          And no, Deutsche Telekom did not funnel the cash back to T-Mobile USA. Deutsche Telekom was in debt (42.3 billions euros at the end of 2010). They were selling T-Mobile USA for $39 billion. T-Mobile’s balance sheet did not increase in Q4 2011 or even Q1 2012.

    • marque2

      Yes TMobile has the money – Sprint has the spectrum. You haven’t been paying attention or have some bizarre bone to grind.

  • Francisco Peña

    Some of the same AGs..
    “We going to sue Trump to find out what collusion may have occured.”

    “No, we won’t give you our communications to find out if we colluded with anyone or not”

    Pot calling the kettle black this week, huh AGs?

    • Ver

      Leave politics out of it. Tiresome.

      • Ummon

        This whole THING is politics, dude.

        • Fabian Cortez

          This whole THING is politics, dude.

          This is 100% untrue.

        • Dharharr

          Prove it Fabian. All I see you do is blow a bunch of BS out your @$$ on this merger.

      • Francisco Peña

        I’m not ranting on a candidate. i’m pointing out that some of the same AGs are the ones trying to sue Trump or are in states that are trying to push for Trump info. yet don’t want to give up info themselves.

        I’m just pointing out hypocrisy. how you deal with it is all on you.

        • Fabian Cortez

          I’m not ranting on a candidate. i’m pointing out that some of the same AGs are the ones trying to sue Trump or are in states that are trying to push for Trump info. yet don’t want to give up info themselves.

          I’m just pointing out hypocrisy. how you deal with it is all on you.

          What hypocrisy?

          What does Sprint and T-Mobile attempting to merge have to do with Donald Trump?

      • Bryck

        The whole situation is about politics.

        • Fabian Cortez

          The whole situation is about politics.

          No, it is not.

  • Jay Holm

    Anyone against the merger, move to Venezuela, lol!!! Enough of this crap, ATT & Vzn has been allowed to swallow up regional carriers for over 20 yeeeeeeeears and yet they did, so knock it off. ATT & Vzn need competition…

    • GoFarKid

      I guarantee you the same people complaining are the same people who use Sprint and bitch about their service all day long.

      • Jay Holm

        Lol, they oughta be happy T-Mo is rescuing them. MetroPCS customers certainly seem to be happy…

    • Fabian Cortez

      Anyone against the merger, move to Venezuela, lol!!! Enough of this
      crap, ATT & Vzn has been allowed to swallow up regional carriers for
      over 20 yeeeeeeeears and yet they did, so knock it off. ATT & Vzn
      need competition…

      That was unnecessary.

    • Radical Millennial

      They do have competition. They no longer have data buckets as a result of the competition and many other things like unlimited tethering. If you’re hoping for lower prices, well my friend, that’s not going to happen as the opposite will happen.

      People should be rooting for the status quo. Not this garbage.

    • Willie D

      What does Venezuela have anything to do with anything? They have 3 carriers, two are rather large, one is small; one of those, the largest being State-Owned and monitored by the government (spying on call telecom). The country also is the size of Texas, and have a little more population than Texas as well. MOST of the country is rainforest, and many parts of it are not only uninhabited but inaccessible by anything more than your own two feet and a lot of bug repellent. It is REALLY easy to deploy and maintain networks based on both a populous and area that size, in comparison to the USA. And from my experience, calling my former partner there, it just worked and he had coverage everywhere we traveled. But I digress, again, whats your point? It kinda sounds like you’re saying if we want better competition and coverage and prices, moving to Venezuela would be a blessing, and that staying on any of the carriers in the USA with its soon to be 3 carriers would be detrimental. I guess you’d prefer larger more wealthy companies that don’t actually compete and innovate, but just rape us all.

  • Ummon

    If theres nothing to hide, then they should have no problem showing funding sources.

    • Fabian Cortez

      If theres nothing to hide, then they should have no problem showing funding sources.

      There is nothing to hide. The funding from the state AGs comes from the people, aka state tax payers.

      If a state attorney general files a lawsuit against an individual or a local company, the funding comes from state funding. Individuals and companies do not fund state attorney generals. Extreme conflict of interest and kangaroo court comes to mind.

  • Fabian Cortez

    Sprint just needs access to capital so that it can invest in its network, which is abysmal in many areas; including my hometown of Detroit, MI.

    If the federal gov’t was serious about keeping around a 4th wireless carrier, they would give Sprint a gov’t backed loan with pro-consumer stipulations attached so they can build out their network. Also, use eminent domain powers to reclaim unused spectrum from other corporations that aren’t using it then give Sprint some of it on a payment plan.

    This is 100% unnecessary. Sprint is 85% owned by SoftBank.

    Likewise, the government should not be in the business of bailing out (read: your, my, and others’ tax money) unsuccessful private business. Iff the government should bail out anyone, it should be the American people; We The People/Preamble.

    From /wiki/SoftBank_Group:

    SoftBank Group Corp.[4][5] is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company owns stakes in Softbank Corp. (ja), Softbank Vision Fund (ja), Arm Holdings, Fortress Investment Group, Boston Dynamics, Sprint (85%), Alibaba (29.5%), Yahoo Japan (48.17%), Brightstar (87.1%), Uber (15%), Didi Chuxing (ca.20%), Ola (ca.30%), Grab, Renren (42.9%), InMobi (45%), Hike (25.8%), Snapdeal (ca.30%), Brain, Fanatics (ca.22%), Guardant Health, Improbable Worlds (ca.50%), Mapbox, Nauto, One97 Communications (ca.20%), Oravel Stays (42%), OSIsoft, PingAn Heath Cloud (7.41%), Plenty United, Roivant Sciences, Slack Technologies (ca.5%), Vir Biotechnology, WeWork (ca.22%), Zhongan Online P&C Insurance [zh] (5%), Compass (ca.22%), AUTO1 Group (ca.20%), Wag (45%), Katerra (ca.28%), Cruise Automation (ca.19.6%), Ele . me, Getaround, Packet and ParkJockey[6], Grofers, Tokopedia (Indonesia)[7]. It also runs Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in capital.[8][9]

    • Ummon

      100% agree here on tax payers bailing out any private corp.

  • marque2

    You are spouting BS now.

  • Tmobile/sprint is taking a loss by merging losing valuable spectrum and prepaid customers to make a 4rth carrier. Everyone just cant be pleased huh
    What more they want Tmobiles blood

  • enigmaco

    It’s not their job, rather it benefits them.

    • Fabian Cortez

      It’s not their job, rather it benefits them.

      I agree with you 100%.

      But T-Mobile’s benefit does not supplant competition, prices, and people’s jobs.

      • enigmaco

        Like I said though sprint would be done without them. So at least the workers have a fighting chance vs no chance. I still remember att buying cingular wireless, which was a decent size company. Helped att to get to be as big as they are.

      • Dharharr

        Dude, enough with the “muh competition” BS. The probability of a customer choosing sprint over the other 3 telecoms is minimal. We basically have only 3 providers that give meaningful service. The merger will strengthen T-mobile (and Sprint) where there can actually be competition.

  • Ummon

    Yes, SB is big, they also want rid of Sprint. Both can be true. Theyre not in the business of saving foreign carriers dude.

  • Dharharr

    Yes, T-mobile will be a very GOOD competitor, one that will keep unlimited data because that’s what keeps customers.

  • FanboisSuck

    All of the arguments against the merger conveniently leave out ATT and Verizon, and their installed user bases. Merged sprint and Tmo would STILL be smaller than either.

  • Santiago Vo

    Because with Sprint potential bankruptcy the process will be much more painful and disorderly for its customers than the merger with T-Mobile. SoftBank is not required to pump money into Sprint. They can sell their stake in it via proxies in a day or two.