Cellular South Piles On Another Suit to Block AT&T/T-Mobile Merger11:38 AM EST Tue. Sep. 20, 2011
Mississippi-based Cellular South is joining the growing opposition to the proposed $39 million merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.
In a suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, the regional carrier joined with the Justice Department, Sprint Nextel, and seven state attorneys general in an attempt to block the merger. The deal would propel AT&T ahead of Verizon as the nation’s largest wireless provider.
“The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile is anticompetitive, and will result in consumers facing higher prices, less innovation, fewer choices and reduced competition,” Cellular South said in its complaint.
A flurry of legal filings have come in the wake of the DOJ’s antitrust suit, filed August 31st. Sprint Nextel, the most vocal opponent to the proposed merger, quickly followed up with a suit of its own a week later, and last Friday seven state attorneys general added their own weight to the argument against the merger.
AT&T has vowed to “vigorously” defend the deal in court, while at the same time appears open to a settlement. That might include selling off spectrum and assets to competitors. AT&T has reportedly approached several rivals about striking a deal that would make the merger appear less threatening in the eyes of the DOJ, according to Bloomberg.
AT&T will have its preliminary hearing tomorrow, and is pushing for an expedited trial date in January.