States hit back in Sprint, T-Mobile merger case - Mobile World Live

States hit back in Sprint, T-Mobile merger case

09 JAN 2020

State attorney generals seeking to block a proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile US again poo-poohed approvals of the deal granted by federal regulators, as part of a rebuttal to calls for a court to back the authorities’ decision.

The states shot back in a new filing, claiming federal authorities appeared to have conducted “only a cursory examination of the approval conditions” attached to the transaction. The attorney generals again cited competition concerns related to Dish Network’s ability to become a viable player in the market once the deal is complete.

They also asserted their independent authority to enforce antitrust laws, noting “the Supreme Court has made clear that neither the states nor this court need defer to the federal government’s approval of a merger”.

The comments came in response to a December 2019 court filing by the US Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, in which the pair argued they already remedied anticompetitive concerns raised by the states and urged the court to “give due weight and consideration” to their approvals of the deal.

Outcome
Witness testimony in the case concluded on 23 December, with closing arguments scheduled for 13 January.

In a recent letter to employees, Sprint CEO Michel Combes noted “we expect to wait at least a few weeks, possibly longer” after the end of closing arguments for a decision.

He added executives won’t be notified of the verdict in advance “so everyone will likely learn of the decision at the same time,” but promised to communicate with staff soon after it is made public.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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