Sprint Nextel, the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier, filed a complaint in federal court yesterday aiming to block AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile.
This news comes after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit last week also trying to prevent the buyout. The proposed merging of the nation’s second- and fourth-largest wireless carriers would violate antitrust laws, according to Sprint Nextel in the suit.
Sprint has been an avid critic of the deal since AT&T announced it last March, arguing that the merger would effectively end its ability to survive. The lawsuit was assigned to Judge Ellen Huvelle, the same judge who will hear the Justice Department’s suit.
Last week justice officials argued the merger would lead to higher rates, with fewer choices for consumers in the wireless market.
While AT&T was disappointed by the DOJ’s decision, the carrier criticized Sprint’s suit, claiming Sprint is more interested in protecting itself than benefiting customers. AT&T said it will fight for its merger and hopes to reach a settlement.
If the deal goes through AT&T will becomes the largest carrier in the U.S. in terms of subscribers, but if rejected the carrier will have to pay T-Mobile $3 billion.