Ina Fried

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Sprint, Verizon Diverge in Reaction to ATT-T-Mobile Deal

Sprint and Verizon Wireless are taking markedly different positions when it comes to AT&T’s pending deal to acquire T-Mobile USA.

Speaking at the CTIA 2011 event in Orlando, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse reiterated his company’s concerns that the deal would concentrate too much power in the hands of Verizon and AT&T.

“I do have concerns that it would stifle innovation and too much power would be in the hands of just two,” he said.

Sharing the same stage, Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead said that the company is clearly watching things, but noted that his company was built through acquisitions.

“We have a tremendous amount of competition in the industry,” he said, adding that the industry will go through continued change, such as the AT&T purchase. “I’m not concerned about it.”

Mead said that his company had not considered a purchase of T-Mobile ahead of the deal and also told Reuters that his company isn’t pondering acquiring rival Sprint.

As for the AT&T-T-Mobile deal, Hesse noted that it doesn’t really matter what he thinks, since it will be regulators at the Department of Justice, FCC and elsewhere that get to decide.

FCC Chairman Juiius Genakowski, who spoke before the CEO panel, acknowledged the elephant in the room, but declined comment on the deal.

AT&T’s Ralph De La Vega didn’t say too much about the deal, other than to repeat the company’s case that the deal is in the public interest as it helps alleviate the looming spectrum crunch and will expand high-speed LTE service to more of the U.S.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik