Sprint Nextel Corp. on Monday announced that it opposes AT&T’s pending $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA and will fight to prevent the companies from merging.
Sprint said the marriage of AT&T and T-Mobile USA would create a company that is nearly three times the size of itself based on wireless revenues.
“Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition," said Vonya McCann, Sprint’s senior vice president of government affairs, in a statement. “This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it."
McCann added that her company “will fight this attempt by AT&T to undo the progress of the past 25 years and create a new Ma Bell duopoly."
AT&T has said it expects to close the cash-and-stock acquisition of T-Mobile in approximately one year, but the companies must first receive the blessing of the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission.
Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. wireless operator behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T, asserted that the merger “will likely spark a host of hearings in the U.S. Congress" and “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."
AT&T has declared that the “U.S. wireless industry is one of the most fiercely competitive markets in the world and will remain so after this deal." For example, there are five or more wireless providers in 18 of the 20 largest local markets, according to the Dallas-based company.
Sprint finds itself in a much different place than 12 years ago when it announced a $129 billion merger with MCI WorldCom.
The Department of Justice sued to block WorldCom's acquisition of Sprint and the companies subsequently terminated the planned union.