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Sprint formally opposes AT&T's T-Mobile acquisition: Will it matter?

Sprint formally announced its opposition to AT&T's $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile in what's likely to be a long antitrust review cycle.

Sprint formally announced its opposition to AT&T's $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile in what's likely to be a long antitrust review cycle.

The third largest wireless carrier---at least for now---already informally announced that it would oppose the AT&T-T-Mobile combination, which would create two large carriers with Sprint as a distant No. 3.

In a statement, Sprint said a bulked up AT&T and Verizon Wireless would create a duopoly that would have "unprecedented control" over the U.S. wireless market.

Vonya McCann, senior vice president of government affairs at Sprint, said:

Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition. This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it. 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.

AT&T knew that it would have a thorough review from the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission and said it was convinced the deal would happen. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said last week:

The benefits of this transaction are possible at this scale and on this timeline only from the combination of these two companies. This will improve network quality, it will get more customers access to more services, it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to virtually every community across the United States, and it will create substantial value for our shareowners. But above all else, this transaction represents a major investment and a major commitment by a US company to advance America’s leadership in mobile broadband.

Now the game comes down to lobbyists and swaying regulators. Sprint is likely to be outnumbered in Washington D.C. when compared to AT&T.

Related:

AT&T makes its T-Mobile case: Patriotism, spectrum crunch, mobile broadband