AT&T seeks to dismiss Sprint, C Spire lawsuits against T-Mobile purchase

AT&T (NYSE:T) has filed a motion to dismiss antitrust lawsuits files by Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and C Spire Wireless, formerly known as Cellular South, that seek to stop AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

"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," said AT&T's filing with a federal court in Washington.

Sprint has argued that its operations would be harmed by AT&T's purchase when it comes to Sprint's ability to purchase the latest handsets, strike roaming deals and access the market for backhaul services. The company said it would respond to AT&T's motion by Friday.

It also argued that C Spire didn't have a case and used a business proposal that was revealed a day after AT&T announced its intention to buy T-Mobile to prove it. AT&T included in its filing a copy of an email from C Spire's Chief Executive Hu Meena asking AT&T to alleviate its concerns about the merger by entering a type of network sharing agreement in the state of Mississippi and other areas in the southeast United States.

"This inappropriate proposal confirms that what Cellular South fears is competition, not lack of competition," AT&T said in its filing. It also included another email from Meena disputing AT&T's interpretation of the first email.

C Spire Vice President Eric Graham said in a statement that AT&T is distorting the record. "As the emails attached to AT&T's motion make clear, Mr. Meena never suggested that AT&T not compete in Mississippi or anywhere else," he said. "Mr. Meena raised the same issues that we have articulated for years."

AT&T is also grappling with a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice that aims to stop the acquisition.

Meanwhile, Dish Network is urging the FCC, which is also reviewing the deal, to bring AT&T before an administrative law judge to determine whether the deal is in the best interest of consumers. Dish wants FCC approval to use 40 MHz of MSS S-Band spectrum to build an LTE-Advanced network, and argues that a delay in the approval process for the AT&T/T-Mobile deal could impact its network.

"Timing is critical, and delay only benefits AT&T," Dish said in filing FCC, summarizing a meeting Wednesday with the staff of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. "There is no set of conditions or divestitures that would resolve the substantial harms posed to the public and to competition."

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this FierceWireless article

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