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Sprint Files Suit Against AT&T T-Mobile Merger 132

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the shoot-it-till-it's-dead dept.
zacharye writes with a news post in BGR. From the article: "Sprint ... announced that it has filed a lawsuit with a federal court in the U.S. District of Columbia in an effort to block AT&T's planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom. The suit is related to the Department of Justice's lawsuit, which was filed on August 31st. 'Sprint opposes AT&T's proposed takeover of T-Mobile,' Sprint's vice president of litigation Suzan Haller said. 'With today's legal action, we are continuing that advocacy on behalf of consumers and competition, and expect to contribute our expertise and resources in proving that the proposed transaction is illegal.'"
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Sprint Files Suit Against AT&T T-Mobile Merger

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a concerned citizen and avid consumer, I will file a suit against Sprint due to them attempting to block the AT&T & T-Mobile Merger.

    Sent from my Vodafone iPad.

    • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jeng (926980) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:40PM (#37318782)

      As a T-Mobile customer I would just like to say "Go fuck yourself."

      • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cc_pirate (82470) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @02:37PM (#37319544)

        Amen. If I wanted to switch from T-mobile to AT&T, I'd do it myself.

        You can't reduce the # of nationwide GSM carriers in this country from 2 to 1 and try to pretend that somehow 'improves competition'.

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        As an AT&T customer, I echo your sentiments. The last thing I want is less competition that would allow AT&T to increase their already bloated rates. (Though to be fair, maybe T-Mobile's pricing is a bit on the low side if they're unprofitable enough that they want to sell so badly).

        • by Jeng (926980)

          T-Mobile is profitable, it's just that it's parent company would like an immediate payday. A 39 billion payday makes investors happier than owning the 4th largest carrier.

          Yes they have lost a few customers, but they have replaced most of them with higher value smartphone customers, while others are moving to their prepaid service which is rather attractive.

      • Cmon, things will be fine.. its not like the best and brightest at T-Mobile have been leaving in droves while there are still jobs available at their competitors and no mass layoffs.. Because they were personally assured by the CEO that this transition will be wonderful for the customers and company...

  • Didn't the US courts block the merger anyways?
    • Re:ATT (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:22PM (#37318560)
      No, the Justice Department has blocked the merger. AT&T could take that to court. Sprint is trying to get a court ruling first. By going to court before AT&T challenges the Justice Department in court, Sprint is attempting to get the case judged from a perspective that they believe is least likely to favor the merger. Sprint would prefer to see T-Mobile go out of business to seeing it gobbled up by AT&T (or Verizon).
      • Re:ATT (Score:4, Informative)

        by Fjandr (66656) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:38PM (#37318762) Homepage Journal

        The Justice Department has not blocked the merger. They filed suit with the goal of blocking the merger. They can still lose, and the merger could still go through.

        • They could also settle before it ever gets to court (which most pundits appear to believe is the real goal here). The government just wants their pound of flesh.
      • by Ferzerp (83619)

        Sure, profits and revenue are down, but T-Mobile USA still made $1.3B on $20B in revenue last year. They are in no danger of going out of business for a few years.

        • by rickb928 (945187)

          The parent company, Deutsche Telekom, wants to sell them off. that seems like a significant danger of going out of business in a few years. Maybe sooner.

          This detail is commonly overlooked.

          • by Ferzerp (83619)

            So, in your world, the *only* reason a company is ever sold is because it is in danger of going out of business soon?

            • by rickb928 (945187)

              Well, where do I start?

              First, I wrote "that seems like a significant danger ..." One of several significant dangers of going out of business would be, as I was trying to point out, that "The parent company, Deutsche Telekom, wants to sell them off". May we agree that when your parent company doesn't want to operate you any more, that is a significant danger to your continued operation?

              Secondly, and more importantly, I was responding to your statement:

              "Sure, profits and revenue are down, but T-Mobile USA s

                • by rickb928 (945187)

                  Ok, let's look at this:

                  March 8, 2011; Bloomberg reports Sprint is talking with DT about buying TMO.

                  March 20, 2011; AT&T announced merger with TMO.

                  Sounds like Sprint is out of the running.

                  Now, if DT will take maybe $25B from Sprint, then there may be a buyer. Will Sprint offer that much?

                  More to the point, and please turn up your hearing aid, Sprint has NOT made a counter-offer.

                  There was talk in 2010 [cnet.com], but it never came to fruition. Even that was supposition.

                  BTW, these rumors go back to 2009. TMO and

            • by hedwards (940851)

              Companies that aren't going bankrupt typically only get sold when there's a hostile takeover or the larger company bribes the executives. Profitable companies rarely if ever benefit from being purchased.

        • Deutsche Telekom wants to sell off T-Mobile. For all practical purposes, AT&T is the only potential buyer. DT has said that they are not going to invest any more money into the T-Mobile network. T-Mobile's network needs significant updating for them to remain competitive. If DT is unable to sell T-Mobile and is unwilling to invest any more money in their network, T-Mobile will be on a downward spiral.
      • by blair1q (305137)

        A company like T-mobile doesn't "go out of business." It goes bankrupt, and either reorganizes itself or is sold to whoever will take it on.

        While Sprint would prefer if competitors just dried up and blew away, it will accept that they don't merge together to become unbeatable competitors.

        • by blargster (239820)

          No, they *are* going out of business because Deutsche Telekom is getting rid of their US operations.

        • It is true that T-Mobile will not just "go out of business". However, if the deal with AT&T does not go through because of Federal Anti-Trust concerns, it is unlikely that T-Mobile will be sold off as a single unit, since, in the U.S., only AT&T uses compatible technology. Additionally, the parent company, Duetsche Telekom has expressed that they have no interest in investing any more money into T-Mobile. This suggests that if this deal does not go through T-Mobile will be sold off in pieces.
          • by blair1q (305137)

            Selling it in pieces doesn't work. As you said, only AT&T would want the technology by itself. But the equipment is far less valuable than the long list of paying customers. And the customers would want to keep using the same equipment.

            It's a unit that functions only as a unit.

            • Hence the reason to suspect that it will go out of business if this sale does not go through. If Duetsche Telekom doesn't want T-Mobile anymore (which evidence suggests is the case), and they can't sell it to AT&T, what is going to happen to it?
              • by Bodero (136806)

                If Duetsche Telekom doesn't want T-Mobile anymore (which evidence suggests is the case), and they can't sell it to AT&T, what is going to happen to it?

                DT spins it off as a separate company with a new identity?

                • Where is T-Mobile going to get the money to do the upgrades that their network requires for them to remain competitive? Also, wouldn't DT get more for selling off the pieces of T-Mobile than just spinning it off?
                • by blair1q (305137)

                  A likely endgame. Leave it to the shareholders to suck up the losses.

                  But I doubt T-Mobile is a loser. I think DT is just doing the math wrong somehow.

    • by Fjandr (66656)

      No, they haven't. The courts won't have anything to say until the outcome of one of the current lawsuits aimed at blocking the merger.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Only until lobbyists with bigger budgets convince them otherwise.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is this what you were looking for?

      http://www.dogpile.com/info.dogpl.t2.2/search/web?fcoid=417&fcop=topnav&fpid=27&q=sprint+at%26t

  • Reward everybody involved by breaking them up into 2 companies each (at least)! Sprint, AT&T, and T-mobile. Hell, throw in verizon and anyone else I'm forgetting just for good measure...

    Herfindahl and Hirschman would be proud.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Better idea, mandate they sell each other transport at cost + X% profit.

      Even better idea, don't let the same company own the network and provide the service.

      • by ThorGod (456163)

        ...and if they complain, offer to:

        1.) print off their coverage map
        2.) see if it blends
        3.) force them to separate into one company per blended piece of coverage map
        4.) everything else that guy just said

  • I use T-Mobile (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:35PM (#37318710)

    The reasons I use T-Mobile:

    They have reasonable prepaid plans. I can get unlimited text, voice, and data (throttled, but meh) at 50$ a mo. I can get unthrottled data at 70.

    The android phones they offer can make use of my home wifi to make and recieve calls, even if the cellular coverage is spotty. I live in the boonies, and this is a major perk. It allows me to keep a big city number where the phone company would charge me long distance otherwise.

    They actually give a shit about their customers, or at least appear to more than ATT does.

    They are the only other US carrier that is GSM besides the bloated whore that is ATT. The last thing I want to see is ATT shove another cellular carrier up its chancre riddled snatch.

    That said, ATT does NOT need T-Mo's spectrum. What they need to do is deploy the spectrum they have more sensibly. Rather than trying to shove 10 thousand subscribers on a single tower, then bitching when they all use the maximum allowed bandwidth-- they need to deploy 10 reduced power output towers that each service 1000 subscribers. They can go ahead and deploy the high power towers in rural areas to maintain their "We have the best coverage!" nonsense (because it is a lie, but meh), but for urban areas such persistent signal is deleterious due to reflections off buildings causing multipath issues, in addition to the obvious one of trying to satisfy the data demands placed on such a network.

    So, rather than buying T-Mo, patching the problem in a manner that would require most ATT customers to buy new phones (that have the T-Mo/UK frequency antennas), and then using the GSM monopoly to play king of the mountain-- they need to use the money they would have spent on buying T-Mo, decommission the high power transponders on the urban area towers they have, replace them with lower power ones, and then build more total towers in the poorly serviced urban areas.

    Oh, but that is that whole "Invest in infrastructure" thing that they dont want to do.

    Fuck ATT. Fuck them with an iron spike on a jackhammer.

    • by scumdamn (82357)
      As a fellow T-Mobile customer I wholeheartedly agree.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        As someone looking to leave Verizon I hope this deal falls through. If I had only AT&T and Verizon I would just stick with Verizon.

        • by webheaded (997188)
          Man this is EXACTLY what I'm doing right now. My contract is up in like March and I hope this is all sorted out because even Verizon is better than fucking AT&T. *shudder*
      • by Macrat (638047)
        I'm also a T-Mobile customer happily using a factory unlocked iPhone 3GS on their network. My $49.99 500min/2GB/unlimited sms is cheaper than the equivalent $84.99 plan on AT&T.
    • The reasons I use T-Mobile:

      • They have reasonable prepaid plans. I can get unlimited text, voice, and data (throttled, but meh) at 50$ a mo. I can get unthrottled data at 70.
      • The android phones they offer can make use of my home wifi to make and recieve calls, even if the cellular coverage is spotty. I live in the boonies, and this is a major perk. It allows me to keep a big city number where the phone company would charge me long distance otherwise.
      • They actually give a shit about their customers, or at least appear to more than ATT does.
      • They are the only other US carrier that is GSM besides the bloated whore that is ATT. The last thing I want to see is ATT shove another cellular carrier up its chancre riddled snatch.

      I tried switching to T-Mobile in 1-2 years ago from AT&T for a lot of the reasons you give above.

      But the coverage in my area was very poor, while AT&T's is quite good and Verizon's is great. So I stayed with AT&T.

      If the coverage wouldn't be so poor by me, such as driving between the house and work, it would be a no-brainer. But dropped calls and dead zones made me want to pull my hair out.

      Then again I'm sure they're stellar in other areas, especially closer to the big cities.

      • You are exactly right. I started with T-Mobile when I was in grad school in Texas and it was at least on par with the other providers. Now that I live in Northern Nevada I notice a large number of blank spots where I don't get reception or where my data flips continually from "4G" to Edge. That being said, I will stick with them until they are finally swallowed for two reasons, first they have the best customer service of any of the big four, and second, they give me a price break for owning my own phone
    • They have reasonable prepaid plans. I can get unlimited text, voice, and data (throttled, but meh) at 50$ a mo. I can get unthrottled data at 70

      What are you talking about? Their cheapest unlimited plan is 59 with no data at all, their "premium" plan is 89, and "Ultra" plan with 10gb/mo is $119 dollars. I used to pay $79 a month for unlimited everything without throttling, now somehow I pay the $89 and only get 500 minutes! Defaintely NOT reasonable. The only reason I stay with t-mo honestly is because they only throttle instead of charging for data overages which I will occasionally do because I use my phone for tethering for work.

      • by todrules (882424)
        You're wrong. If you get an Unlimited Value plan, where you pay for your phone, you only pay $49.99 per month, and that includes unlimited talk and text.
        • THIS. I'm on this plan now with a Nexus One, and my wife is on the same plan with a G2 I bought outright.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      T-mobile is better than Sprint (ultra-shitty coverage) or AT&T (nothing at all worth having), but not much different from Verizon.

      They do have the hottest spokesmodel, though.

  • Wow... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Haelyn (321711) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:36PM (#37318718)

    VP of litigation?

    just... wow...

    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

      by doctormetal (62102) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @01:42PM (#37318824)

      Yes, also known as the sue-pervisor.

    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Informative)

      by gregrah (1605707) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @02:04PM (#37319088)
      My relatively small company of about 300 employees has a dedicated "legal counsel" who ranks as a VP - and she's well worth whatever amount we pay her. Part of her job description includes handling an litigation that we may be involved in.

      Not sure why it would surprise you at all that a company as large as sprint would also have someone dedicated to legal issues, or even specifically to litigation.
      • most likely if your company is big enough that having a meeting with the whole staff would need a PA system in the room you should have at least one lawyer on staff. Now most of the time that lawyer should be working on defining "unacceptable liability" and not working on suing different people.

        A company the size of SPRINT should have a whole department of lawyers (and clerks and paralegal ect) so the head of that department would be a VP just on principle alone (and so that the VP of litigation can tell t

    • by fallen1 (230220)

      I'm sure she handles it both ways.

      Sheesh, minds out of the gutter -- I mean litigation. Both the suing of Sprint and Sprint suing someone else.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Chief Shystering Officer.

  • sprint is rumored to be getting the iphone this year but no work on T-Mo. Sprint will probably steal the rest of the profitable customers, AT&T will walk away from the deal due to the lower valuation of the company and we will have 3 big carriers in the US once T-Mo files for Chapter 11 and gets sold off piece by piece.

    It really wouldn't shock me at all if Apple had something to do with it as well by giving the iphone to sprint but not t-mo. 2 super carriers is bad for apple since they will have the pow

    • by Jeng (926980)

      once T-Mo files for Chapter 11 and gets sold off piece by piece.

      I don't know, T-Mobile will get quite the shot in the arm what with that $6 billion that AT&T will give them when this fails.

      • by alen (225700)

        there was a story last week that if t-mo's value falls too much then there is no break up fee

  • ...think that Sprint's suit for "advocacy on behalf of consumers" carries just a wee bit less weight than that of the DOJ's suit?

  • My understanding when this merger was first announced wasn't that T-Mobile was doing poorly, but rather that the company wasn't doing as well as Deutsche Telecom had hoped. The lack of the iPhone was likely one of the things that hurt them. But ultimately the impression I got was that Deutsche Telecom couldn't be bothered with T-Mobile.

    I'm with AT&T. Not because I have any love for them, but because there's no better alternative. Verizon offers no better coverage in this area and their business practice

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