As you've heard, T-Mobile has agreed to sell out to AT&T for $39 billion in cash and stocks in a deal expected to close in March 2012. That gives Sprint, the most outspoken opponent to the deal, about 11 months to convince U.S. regulators to step in and block the transaction, and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse isn't wasting any time. Speaking at an event in San Francisco, Hesse said the acquisition would pose a "serious threat" to industry innovations.
"We just cannot let this happen," Hesse said just before the weekend. "If the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merge is allowed to go forward, it can also push the wireless industry from competition to duopoloy."
As it stands, Sprint Nextel Corp. is the third largest U.S. wireless provider behind AT&T (No. 2) and Verizon (No. 1). T-Mobile is the fourth largest, but should the merger be allowed to happen, AT&T and T-Mobile combined would control about 80 percent of the wireless industry revenue, jumping ahead of Verizon as the largest carrier in the country.
Hesse warns that regulators should think long and hard about what effect the proposed merger would have on consumer prices and innovation. He believes that the acquisition could restrict access to device makers among smaller wireless companies, and with the buying power of the two largest wireless companies, "they could restrict access to some of the cool devices."