By now, we all know that the US Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Sprint and C Spire Wireless (formerly known as the Cellular South) have filed suits to that same effect, but AT&T has asked the court to reject those companies’ complaints.
The reason? AT&T believes that Sprint and C Spire are fighting for their own sakes, and not for the public’s best interests. Because Sprint is a major competitor and not a consumer, AT&T doesn’t believe Sprint has a legal leg to stand on.
Ouch. Sprint is preparing to respond to AT&T’s claim next week, but only after saying the argument had no merit. The folks in Overland Park have one thing to smile about though: 7 state Attorneys General have already come out against the merger, and they are now joined by the Attorney General of Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, AT&T alleged that C Spire Wireless fears “competition, not lack of competition.” In their filing to have the C Spire suit dismissed, AT&T’s lawyers included a memo from C Spire CEO Hu Meena asking AT&T for a network sharing agreement in certain parts of the southeastern United States. C Spire claims that AT&T mischaracterized their proposal, and fired back by alleging that AT&T asked for then-Cellular South’s support for the deal when it was announced.
With billions of dollars on the line, the situation just seems to be getting dirtier and dirtier. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle has scheduled the merger trial for February 12 of next year, but who knows what crazy developments may arise between now and then.