AT&T Requests Dismissal of Sprint and Cellular South Lawsuits

Mobile and wireless behemoth AT&T has urged the federal court in Washington to dismiss lawsuits brought against it by rivals Sprint Nextel and Cellular South. Both firms are arguing AT&T’s proposed USD39 billion purchase of T-Mobile from Germany’s Deutsche Telekom would be anti-competitive.

AT&T, which is also facing a civil antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice, is claiming its competitors have failed to demonstrate that the T-Mobile deal will hurt competition or negatively affect access to networks needed to serve their customers.

Here’s part of the latest cuddly AT&T filing:

“What is good for consumers is bad for Sprint, and that is why Sprint has filed suit. Sprint does not purchase roaming services from either AT&T or T-Mobile – its network is technologically incompatible. The transaction will therefore have no impact on Sprint’s ability to obtain roaming prices. The immediate impact of any supposed reduction in demand for special access as a result of the merger would be to reduce the prices that Sprint pays for special access, not to increase them. That reduction in prices would benefit Sprint and would not constitute antitrust injury.”

AT&T’s filing also laid into Cellular South, stating:

“Cellular South suggested that it would not oppose the merger if AT&T would agree not to engage in facilities-based competition in Mississippi. This inappropriate proposal confirms that what Cellular South fears is competition, not lack of competition.”

Which, if you ask most right-minded people, is hogwash. Back in August, when the DoJ launched its civil antitrust lawsuit, deputy attorney general James M Cole warned the merger would mean consumers “faced higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products,” for mobile wireless services.

Cole basically has the entire history of mergers to back up his case. Seven U.S. states and Puerto Rico seem to agree – all have backed the DoJ’s case.