Sci-tech

Sprint merger faces big test as nine states sue to block it

Sprint merger faces big test as nine states sue to block it

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul joined 8 states and the District of Columbia today in filing a multi-state lawsuit to halt the proposed merger of telecom giants T-Mobile and Sprint.

The lawsuit, led by Letitia James of NY and Xavier Becerra of California, contends that competition will suffer and consumer prices will rise if the companies combine.

The state attorneys general said the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, can not be verified, while eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing competition and driving up prices for cellphone service.

In addition to NY and California, the states attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia, and Wisconsin have joined the lawsuit. Even if the Justice Department eventually gives the deal its blessing, a federal judge could side with the states and prevent the merger. The Colorado Attorney General's Office released those numbers, citing Colorado Public Utilities Commission data. The companies also agreed to sell the prepaid brand Boost Mobile. Sprint Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure and John Legere, his counterpart at T-Mobile, met with US Justice Department officials on Monday, according to a source familiar with the matter. "If consummated, the merger will eliminate the competition between Sprint and T-Mobile", the states said in the complaint. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in NY.

The lawsuit [PDF] follows a statement last month by Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in which he said he was planning to approve the $26bn merger thanks to new "commitments" made by the two companies about 5G deployment and rural wireless access.

"They see the FCC accepting certain remedies and concessions that don't, in their minds, solve the problem", she said.

Shikhar Dhawan to stay with the team; under observation: BCCI
The team managements aim clearly is to try and give Dhawan a chance to regain full fitness so that they don't lose his services. He didn't leave the field due to the injury during the clash post which he underwent scans in which the fracture came to light.

House Democrats, led by freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of MI, followed suit shortly thereafter by sending a similar letter to Pai and Department of Justice head Makan Delrahim outlining their opposition to the deal, stressing how it would "disproportionately hurt lower-income people and communities of color".

The two companies have been in regular contact with regulators as they lobby for approval. They have also indicated they were considering divesting from the wireless spectrum.

Regulators have yet to sign off on the deal. Consumer advocacy groups have voiced their disagreement with the deal.

In fact the lawsuit quotes the majority shareholder of T-Mobile US, Germany's Deutsche Telekom, as saying in a document that reducing the number of large mobile operators in the United States would result in a "more '********; market by reducing competition and enabling it to earn a greater return on its investment". Direct competition between Sprint and T-Mobile has led to lower prices, higher quality service, and more features for consumers. And they say that the companies don't need to combine in order for 5G service to roll out in the US, noting that Sprint has already launched a 5G network in parts of several cities and T-Mobile has separately been working to deploy 5G.

T-Mobile now has more than 79 million subscribers and is a majority-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG.


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