Sprint is taking its opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile
deal to the state public utility commissions.
Sprint Monday submitted a formal request of the West
Virginia state PUC to investigate the proposed $39
billion deal, saying it would adversely impact West Virginians
because it would raise prices, restrict innovation and limit choice. It would
also increase the footprint of one of Sprint's key competitors in the wireless
"By eliminating the fourth largest national competitor,
AT&T would foreclose the prospect of an innovative, value-oriented
competitor providing service throughout West Virginia,"
Sprint said in its request.
A Sprint spokesman said to expect the company to file
similar requests for contested proceedings in other states.
AT&T has argued that the deal will promote wireless
broadband deployment, stimulate the creation of thousands of jobs, improve
public safety, and still face plenty of competition from Sprint, MetroPCS and
Leap (Cricket), U.S. Cellular, Cox, Clearwire (a consortium of Sprint, Comcast,
Time Warner Cable, Intel, Google, and Bright House), and others.
"AT&T is trying to bring the latest and fastest mobile Internet service to most of the citizens of West Virginia," said J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T's Mid-Atlantic Region. "Since Sprint is trying to stop that, we hope state officials will ask Sprint what its own plans are for bringing LTE speeds to the people of West Virginia. We suspect Sprint either has no such plan, or that its own plans pale in comparison to AT&T's. In either case, we're confident West Virginians will see Sprint's filing for what it is - a cynical effort to hurt a competitor, even if the ones truly hurt are the many people of West Virginia who would be denied the fast mobile Internet speeds they need and want."
The FCC is currently collecting comment on the proposed deal,
with those comments due May 31.