In the ongoing commentary that is the proposed Sprint/T-Mobile merger, the threat of it dying at the feet of the Department of Justice looms. Having blocked the AT&T buyout of T-Mobile, the DOJ is no stranger to thwarting major moves by carriers. Recent comments hint that history may end up repeating itself, this time with Sprint in the leading role.
In a presentation to the New York State Bar Association, Bill Baer — Assistant Attourney General and head of the DOJ antitrust division — made some interesting remarks about the failed AT&T buyout of T-Mobile. According to him, what has transpired since then has benefitted the industry, as well as consumers. He feels the current atmosphere offers better value to the consumer, and increased competition amongst carriers. “Competition in the wireless sector has flourished and consumers have benefitted” said Baer.
He was particularly complimentary of T-Mobile, saying they took the cash gained as a penalty to AT&T in the failed transaction and built on it. Saying they “made a series of moves to offer cheaper and better customer contracts, including offering plans without annual contracts”, Baer also noted that T-Mobile has seen rapid customer gains. Proof, in his eyes, that four carriers is better than three.
Though separate events, his commentary comes at a time when we’re experiencing a touch of Deja Vu. Sprint is AT&T in this reboot, but we don’t know if the DOJ and FCC feel the same as they once did. Taking these comments into consideration, it’s not going to be an easy road for Sprint.
VIA: The Consumerist