Sprint and T-Mobile defend merger against state challenge

The decision is not now expected until the end of next week, said this person. The schedule reflects the complex negotiations between the companies and DOJ, which is pushing for T-Mobile and Sprint to mobilize enough resources to reduce the government's antitrust problems around the potential landmark telecoms.

It also undermines a widespread belief that an agreement between the Ministry of Justice and the companies is "imminent", as Sprint's lawyer Steven Sunshine said in the Manhattan federal court on Friday morning.

Sprint and T-Mobile face a multi-state challenge to block the deal, filed preemptively earlier this month.

"We are challenging this merger to protect a service that matters to everyone," Massachusetts lawyer Maura Healey said in a statement.

The two sides agreed that a trial could begin October 7 and last two to three weeks, although the schedule is subject to judge Victor Marrero's approval.

The hearing marked the beginning of a critical test for the two wireless operators. At stake is a $ 26 billion deal to combine the country's third and fourth largest mobile provider, creating a massively new company with as many as 1[ads1]27 million customers.

Along with New York and California, attorneys general from Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Connecticut, Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia originally signed the lawsuit. Speaking before Marrero on Friday, a New York lawyer announced that four additional states are in the nine already mentioned in the suit: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Nevada.

They claim the bond will lead to higher consumer prices because it eliminates an aggressive competitor – Sprint – from the market. States claim that T-Mobile's ( TMUS ) controlling shareholder, Germany's Deutsche Telekom, has sought consolidation on the wireless network market and believe it would lead to "less competition and better returns for network operators," according to the lawsuit, citing internal Deutsche Telekom documents. 19659009] ( T ) who owns WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN.

States are committed to their lawsuits no matter what DOJ concludes. State Attorneys said they had to revise their complaint "to add more claims" if the Justice Department approves the merger with structural changes. The states can still seek to impose a preliminary injunction against the agreement "if necessary," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement Friday.

Two additional states, Indiana and Texas, said in a file to the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday that they are investigating the merger, even though they have not joined the case.

Both states consider telephone number portability data provided by the carriers of the FCC, according to their applications. Business experts have said that such data can provide evidence of how much T-Mobile and Sprint compete with each other for the same customers.

A key factor in DOJ's negotiations is whether the company's disposal will be enough to spur renewed competition after Sprint has been eliminated from the market.

"DOJ wants to make sure the pick up assets go to a company that will put them in good use, said the person familiar with the case.

In a busy Tuesday in the United States today, New York lawyer Letitia James said at T -Mobile and Sprint have injected competition into the wireless industry, leading to lower prices and better network quality.

"A merger between T-Mobile and Sprint would end competition between the two operators with the greatest incentives to keep prices low and innovate, "she wrote." This is not speculation, but generally accepted economic theory. "

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