New York AG not budging on T-Mobile/Sprint deal

T-Mobile
T-Mobile CEO John Legere earlier this week said talks were going well with AGs opposed to the merger, but he's also confident about winning in a trial. (T-Mobile)

T-Mobile’s recent promises to make its merger with Sprint more attractive are not enough to persuade New York Attorney General Letitia James to drop the case, according to myriad reports.

The case against T-Mobile involves an antitrust violation. "Obviously, we are concerned with anti-competitive behavior and so providing benefits are good, but it does not address the antitrust violations," she said.

Attorney General Letitia James
Letitia James (ag.ny.gov)

Her comments came during a news conference Tuesday to announce a lawsuit against the electronic cigarette company JUUL Labs. James is the attorney general who announced the suit against the T-Mobile/Sprint transaction back in June.

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She later released a statement in July after the U.S Department of Justice (DoJ) announced its approval conditioned on the creation of Dish Network as a fourth competitor, where she cited serious concerns about the viability of Dish, which has a history of broken promises with the FCC when it comes to the use of its spectrum.

RELATED: T-Mobile pledges to bring second customer experience center to NY

The states’ lawsuit, led by New York and California, alleges that the merger of two of the four national mobile network operators would harm mobile subscribers nationwide by reducing access to affordable, reliable wireless service, hitting lower-income and minority communities particularly hard. Those are some of the very issues that T-Mobile has tried to address through concessions it’s been offering up, such as offering free internet to 10 million eligible households with school-age children and new low-cost prepaid plans, including one for $15 a month for 2 GB of data.

During a conference call earlier this week announcing Mike Seivert will become CEO of T-Mobile when current CEO John Legere leaves the post in April 2020, Legere said the new Un-carrier 1.0 offer was “extremely well received” by first responders and families, as well as people who are concerned about the low end of the market. “The fact that we’re already announcing and doing disruptive Un-carrier moves for the company that doesn’t yet exist was very well received,” he said.

He said executives continue to have “very good dialog” with the attorneys general and said he felt good that they had the basis for settling before the trial, which is set to start Dec. 9. However, he also said he feels confident about winning the case if it does go to trial.

Most of the more than a dozen states still involved in the suit are led by Attorneys General who are Democrats.

Interestingly, back in May, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, signaled his support for the New T-Mobile in a press release announcing the company’s plans to locate a Customer Experience Center in Henrietta, New York, subject to the close of the merger.

“T-Mobile’s decision to invest in the greater Rochester area following its proposed merger with Sprint demonstrates once again that New York State is open for business and is a testament to how the private and public sectors can work together to spur economic growth upstate,” Cuomo said in that statement. “We look forward to welcoming New T-Mobile and the more than one thousand new jobs it will bring.”

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