Ina Fried

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Following Justice Department, Sprint Sues to Stop AT&T From Buying T-Mobile

It sounds a bit like overkill, but Sprint said on Tuesday that it has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop AT&T’s planned $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA.

Sprint has already voiced its objections to the deal, and last week the Department of Justice filed its own suit seeking to block the deal. In a statement, Sprint said its suit is being filed as a related suit to the DOJ case.

In announcing the suit, Sprint reiterated its standard arguments against the deal, saying it would both hurt competition and harm consumers.

“Sprint opposes AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile,” Sprint litigation VP Susan Z. Haller said in a statement. “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.”

An AT&T representative was not immediately available for comment.

In the wake of last week’s move by the Justice Department, both AT&T and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom vowed to fight on. In addition to needing to prevail in court in the Department of Justice suit, the companies also need approval from the Federal Communications Commission, which said last week that it too has serious concerns about the deal.

Update: In a statement, AT&T criticized Sprint’s suit and reiterated its case for the merger.

“This simply demonstrates what we’ve said all along – Sprint is more interested in protecting itself than it is in promoting competition that benefits consumers,” AT&T said. “We of course will vigorously contest this matter in court as AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile USA will: help solve our nation’s spectrum exhaust situation and improve wireless service for millions; allow AT&T to expand 4G LTE mobile broadband to another 55 million Americans, or 97% of the population; and result in billions of additional investment and tens of thousands of jobs, at a time when our nation needs them most.”

Also, here’s a copy of the suit:

Sprint Suit to Block AT&T – T-Mobile

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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