Sprint has filed suit to block AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile just days after the U.S. government moved to stop the transaction on antitrust grounds. In its own legal challenge, the nation's No. 3 carrier argues the deal would hurt consumers and lead to duopoly control by the two largest wireless operators -- AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint has been one of the most vocal critics of the acquisition since AT&T announced its plans to purchase T-Mobile in March.
The Department of Justice filed its action Aug. 31, saying the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would "substantially lessen competition" in the wireless industry and could lead to higher prices, poorer-quality service and fewer innovative products. The government is seeking an injunction against the merger.
In addition to harming consumers, Sprint said in a statement today the deal would also give AT&T and T-Mobile an unfair advantage over Sprint and other independent carriers.
"Sprint opposes AT&T's proposed takeover of T-Mobile," stated Susan Z. Haller, vice president-litigation, at Sprint. "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."
AT&T has vowed to fight the DOJ suit, maintaining that the merger would benefit consumers by providing improved and expanded services for millions of mobile users and create tens of thousands of jobs. AT&T had not immediately issued a statement on the Sprint suit Tuesday.
The Federal Communications Commission, whose approval is required for the AT&T-T-Mobile merger to go forward, has not yet weighed in on the matter. But FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week said the deal "raises serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition."