7 states join the fight against AT&T and T-Mobile merger

California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington have all jumped on the Department of Justice's bandwagon to prevent the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T. Echoing the concerns expressed in the DOJ's lawsuit about the deal killing compettion, New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneidermen explained in a statement how his state would be affected: "This proposed merger would stifle competition in markets that are crucial to New York's consumers and businesses, while reducing access to low-cost options and the newest broadband-based technologies."

AT&T responded to the news of the new plaintiffs in a statement of their own:

It is not unusual for state attorneys general to participate in DOJ merger review proceedings or court filings. At the same time, we appreciate that 11 state attorneys general and hundreds of other local, state and federal officials are publicly supportive of our merger. We will continue to seek an expedited hearing on the DOJ’s complaint. On a parallel path, we have been and remain interested in a solution that addresses the DOJ’s issues with the T-Mobile merger.We remain confident that we’ll reach a successful conclusion and look forward to delivering the merger benefits of additional wireless network capacity to improve customer service, expanded LTE deployment to 55 million more Americans, $8 billion in additional investment, and a commitment to bring 5,000 wireless call center jobs back to the United States.

Though AT&T may be hoping to settle with the Department of Justice, it will be more difficult now that the seven states have joined in. An initial scheduling hearing has been set for September 21 where a date for the trial will be set. The DOJ is pushing for a March 19 start, while AT&T is looking to begin January 16.

Source: Reuters; Via: PhoneScoop

Seth Brodeur