Cellular South files a lawsuit to block AT&T, T-Mobile merger
When big boys fight you wouldn’t expect nobody else to intervene, but Cellular South, a small regional carrier ranking 9th in scale across the States, has filed its own lawsuit to block AT&T’s $39 billion acqusition of T-Mobile.
"The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile is anti-competitive, and will result in consumers facing higher prices, less innovation, fewer choices and reduced competition," Cellular South said in a complaint.
Cellular South has a subscriber base estimated at 887,000 users, barely noticeable when put aside AT&T’s 98.6 million, but the regional carrier argues that the “Big Two” including AT&T and Verizon have hurt its business. Cellular South operates in Mississipi, Alabama, Tennessee and in parts of Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas and Louisiana.
The carrier joins a handful of parties trying to block the AT&T-T-Mobile merger. Sprint started the anti-merger campaign arguing that an acquisition would only create a monopoly and hurt competitiveness. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) joined with a lawsuit of its own and the FCC backed it up in a statement almost immediately. Seven state attorneys general have also joined in making the chances of the deal passing through slimmer. Forbes estimates that there’s a 30% to 40% probability of the merger happening, betting on Sprint’s and DoJ’s side.
Sprint also sided with Cellular South on this. “Today Cellular South stands with the U.S. Department of Justice, seven state Attorneys General and Sprint in asking the Courts to protect American consumers from the harms to competition, innovation, and pricing that likely would result if AT&T is allowed to takeover T-Mobile," Vonya McCann, Sprint's senior VP of government affairs at Sprint said.