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Sprint concerned over AT&T, T-Mobile merger


Sprint responded to the announcement of the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T with a statement that expresses concern about the proposed merger. Sprint suggests federal regulators take a close look at the deal, which will dramatically change the structure of the wireless industry in the US.

The now #3 wireless carrier in the US points out that a post-merger AT&T and Verizon will control almost 80 percent of the wireless post-paid market and will set both the price and availability of valuable assets, such as backhaul capacity and wireless access, which the smaller carriers need to compete. The merger would also leave Sprint in the dust in terms of subscriber numbers.

Sprint has the most to lose from a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. The merger would vault AT&T to the top as the nation's largest GSM carrier with 130 million subscribers. Verizon would trail the merged company as the nation's largest CDMA carrier with about 100 million subscribers. Though it will be smaller, Verizon has a strong lineup of handsets with the Apple iPhone and Android offerings, such as the HTC Thunderbolt. Verizon is also successfully deploying its LTE network on the 700 MHz band and has little to fear from a stronger AT&T and T-Mobile.

Sprint, on the other hand, relies on its partnership with Clearwire for 4G expansion, but the carrier is considering a move to LTE. It has a plan forward for 4G, but its future prospect is not as strong as Verizon or AT&T in this growing wireless broadband market. Sprint also lacks the iPhone and other cutting-edge handsets like AT&T's dual-core Motorola Atrix 4G. It is already behind AT&T and Verizon and will be at a decided disadvantage if T-Mobile merges with AT&T.

The full text of Sprint's statement can be found after the break.

Sprint said this in a statement about the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T:

"The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile USA, if approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), would alter dramatically the structure of the communications industry. AT&T and Verizon are already by far the largest wireless providers. A combined AT&T and T-Mobile would be almost three times the size of Sprint, the third largest wireless competitor."

"If approved, the merger would result in a wireless industry dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically-integrated companies that control almost 80% of the US wireless post-paid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to compete. The DOJ and the FCC must decide if this transaction is in the best interest of consumers and the US economy overall, and determine if innovation and robust competition would be impacted adversely by this dramatic change in the structure of the industry."

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