Sprint Officially Protests AT&T/T-Mobile Buyout, AT&T Scoffs

As expected, Sprint has come out officially protesting AT&T’s pending acquisition T-Mobile, and the company has called on U.S. regulators to block the transaction. The company said the buyout would harm consumers and be anticompetitive. Also, expected, AT&T scoffed at the protest, telling those interested that there’s nothing to see here, and to move along.

“Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition,” Spring said in a statement (the company’s newsroom is currently down). “This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it.”

AT&T would have none of it, however, and iterated its original stance that it would clear regulatory hurdles in pursuing the buyout.

“Rather than becoming distracted by challenging the business strategies of others,” Ma Bell said in a statement, “we have always found that the most constructive course is to focus on our own strategies for serving our customers and building our business.”

To be fair, however, Sprint is effectively doing both, crying foul to regulators while saying it intends to compete. In its press release, Sprint said, “As the first national carrier to roll out 4G services and handsets and the carrier that brought simple unlimited pricing to the marketplace, Sprint stands ready to compete in a truly dynamic marketplace.”

The role of competing businesses in regulatory hurdles is vague, at best. Technically, business has little say in what U.S. regulatory agencies do when pursuing their areas of responsibility. The reality, however, is that what large corporations have to say about antitrust areas plays a big role in the process.

Sprint, as the nation’s #3 carrier, is likely to be hurt the most from any major consolidation in the telecom industry. Accordingly, the company’s concerns are likely to be heard, whether or not they actually result in blocking the transaction.