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States sue to stop $26.5 billion Sprint-T-Mobile deal

SFGate Wednesday, 12 June 2019
A group of state attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra and New York’s Letitia James, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to block T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion bid for Sprint, citing consumer harm.

The attorneys general said the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, cannot be verified, while eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing competition and driving up prices for cell phone service.

James said in a statement that combining the two companies would reduce access to affordable, reliable wireless service nationwide and would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities in New York and other urban areas.

Other attorneys general joining Tuesday’s lawsuit are from Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia and Wisconsin. All 10 attorneys general are Democrats. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New York.

The lawsuit is an unusual step by state officials ahead of a decision by federal antitrust authorities. The Justice Department’s decision is pending. The Republican majority of the Federal Communications Commission supports the deal, though the agency has yet to vote.

Becerra said that it is important to stop the merger to protect “the most vulnerable” residents of the state.

“Fewer choices means higher prices for low-income Californians,” he tweeted. “They may be promising faster, better, and cheaper service, but the real rationale is profits, pure and simple.”

Noting how vital phones have become to everyday lives, he said on Twitter: “They’re how we conduct business, access the internet, get transportation and education, do our banking and so much more. If the cost of...
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News video: DOJ May Decide On T-Mobile, Sprint Merger As Soon As Next Week

DOJ May Decide On T-Mobile, Sprint Merger As Soon As Next Week 00:38

Sources say the U.S. Justice Department is set to decide as early as next week whether to approve the $26.5-billion merger of wireless carriers T-Mobile USA and Sprint Corporation. According to Reuters, Dish Network Corp executives met with the Justice Department’s antitrust chief Makan Delrahim...

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