New York State

James, other state AGs remain an obstacle for T-Mobile-Sprint merger

Long-delayed and controversial plans to merge mobile carriers T-Mobile and Sprint are still on hold.

New York Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James lev radin/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Justice may approve of the long-delayed controversial plans to merge mobile carriers T-Mobile and Sprint, but New York Attorney General Letitia James – leading a cohort of more than a dozen other state AGs – is still a holdout. 

Despite antitrust concerns about narrowing the field of U.S. mobile network operators to only three major players – T-Mobile/Sprint, AT&T and Verizon – the Justice Department approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger on the condition that Dish Network would acquire some assets to make it a fourth major player. And while the announcement of the Justice Department’s approval may make the merger seem like a done deal, a lawsuit filed by James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra still stands in the way. That lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in June, opposed the merger on the basis that it would decrease competition, increase prices, and harm customers by reducing access to affordable, reliable wireless service. 

With the lawsuit still ongoing, T-Mobile’s chief operating officer said that it would wait until the litigation concluded before closing the deal. “The promises made by DISH and T-Mobile in this deal are the kinds of promises only robust competition can guarantee,” James said in a statement on Friday. “We have serious concerns that cobbling together this new fourth mobile player, with the government picking winners and losers, will not address the merger’s harm to consumers, workers, and innovation.”

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