T-Mobile-Sprint deal faces opposition from four US states

Four more states on Friday joined an effort by 10 state attorneys general to stop a proposed $26 billion merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, according to New York Attorney General Letitia James.

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James said that Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Nevada joined the effort to stop the merger between T-Mobile, the nation’s third-largest wireless company, and Sprint, the fourth-largest operator.

“The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint would stifle competition, cut jobs, and harm vulnerable consumers from across the country, so unity among the states will be key in defending our citizens against this power-hungry corporate union,” James said in a statement. “We welcome the support from these four additional states.”

The companies argue that combining would expand the country’s 5G network -- which President Trump has said is crucial for national security -- and allow it to compete against larger rivals Verizon and AT&T. The deal received a blessing from the head of the Federal Communications Commission and seemed to be moving forward, until a group of 10 states (all Democratic) led by James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the suit.

The suit alleges that if the merger goes through, the prices consumers pay for phone plans would rise because the number of major wireless carriers would fall to three from four.

Lawyers for the states and companies proposed a tentative trial date of Oct. 7. It could last somewhere between two to three weeks.

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“We are here and we are ready to go,” said Steve Sunshine, an attorney for Sprint.