AT&T asks Justice Dept. to dismiss competitors’ anti-merger lawsuits
AT&T has filed a motion asking a federal court to dismiss antitrust litigation initiated by Sprint and Cellular South, calling its competitors’ motives “disingenuous” for opposing its pending $39 billion merger with T-Mobile.
“Both [lawsuits] are an obvious attempt to use the court to improve their own strategic interests,” AT&T general counsel Wayne Watts said in a statement Friday. (RELATED: Verizon CEO backs AT&T–T-Mobile merger)
The two motions for dismissal, filed separately in Washington D.C. federal court, challenge claims made by the smaller mobile companies and the Department of Justice that the merger would destroy competition in the wireless industry. AT&T responded that these companies — Sprint in particular, as its closest competitor with the most to lose from a potential merger — were only concerned with their own interests.
“Sprint cannot wrap itself in the cloak of wireless service consumers’ interest, because Sprint is not a consumer but instead a competitor in the sale of wireless services,” they argued in the filing. Should AT&T win both these suits and follow through on the merger, it would become the biggest wireless carrier in the United States.
The Department of Justice had filed a lawsuit on August 31 seeking to stop the AT&T/T-Mobile merger on the grounds that it would violate longstanding antitrust laws and reduce competition. Sprint’s and Cellular South’s separate lawsuits were filed one week later, on September 6.