Late last week, the DOJ greenlit T-Mobile and Sprint’s $26 billion deal to become the nation’s No. 3 carrier. The deal isn’t officially official just yet, with some prominent opposition facing the merger. A growing list of attorneys general have sued to block the merger, and another big name just came on board.
With the addition of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the number moves to 15, including the District of Columbia. California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin filed the initial suit in June and were soon joined by Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Nevada.
Notably, Paxton is one of only two Republicans on the list — probably not surprising, as many conservative lawmakers have suggested that a merger of the third and fourth largest carriers might actually promote competition. Trump-appointed DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim agreed with carrier suggestions that a merger would help a larger T-Mobile accelerate 5G growth.
Paxton disagreed with the sentiments.
“After careful evaluation of the proposed merger and the settlement, we do not anticipate that the proposed new entrant will replace the competitive role of Sprint anytime soon,” Paxton said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “It is the Attorney General’s responsibility to preserve free market competition, which has proven to result in lower prices and better quality for consumers. The bargain struck by the U.S. Department of Justice is not in the best interest of working Texans, who need affordable mobile wireless telecommunication services that are fit to match the speed and technological innovation demands of Texas’ growing economy.”
T-Mobile has also come under scrutiny for intense lobbying, including $195,000 spent at Trump’s D.C. hotel since last April.