Sprint urges FCC to reject AT&T-BellSouth merger

Sprint Nextel urged the FCC to reject the $67 billion merger of AT&T and BellSouth on the grounds that it will negatively affect "special access" lines used by carriers to transmit calls from basestations to mobile switching centers. The choice quote comes from Sprint Nextel's SVP of government affairs, Robert Foosaner: "The merger of AT&T and BellSouth will maintain and strengthen the combined company's incentive to use its dominance in the provision of special access to disadvantage its wireline rivals as well as the commercial mobile radio service competitors of Cingular Wireless." Cingular is a JV between AT&T and BellSouth, which hold 60 percent and 40 percent of the carrier respectively.

Sprint contends that if the merger does go through, the FCC should impose specific conditions on the merger that ensure competitive local exchange carriers and CMRS providers gain access to reasonably-priced special access lines. The FCC imposed similar conditions on the SBC-AT&T merger, but the latest merger is, of course, even more of a threat to competitors.

For more on the AT&T-BellSouth merger:
- see this article from RCRNews