Over the past month or so, AT&T has been hit with a trio of lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice, Sprint, and Cellular South, all of which aim to try and block AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. AT&T is set to meet the Justice Department in court on February 13th to kick off a trial between the two entities, but if AT&T has its way, Sprint won't get the same chance. AT&T today filed a document with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking that Sprint's case against it be dismissed, claiming that Sprint has a lack of standing" in the matter when it argues that the AT&T-Mobile deal will harm wireless consumers because it's a carrier and not a consumer itself. An excerpt from AT&T's filing is below:
"Sprint cannot wrap itself in the cloak of wireless service consumers' interest because Sprint is not a consumer but instead a competitor in the sale of wireless services."
This filing is an interesting attempt from AT&T to cut down on the number of sides its being attacked from, as I'm sure it'd like to focus as much energy as possible on both its trial with the Justice Department and getting more folks on board with its acquisition of T-Mobile. Of course, just because AT&T has asked that Sprint's lawsuit be dismissed doesn't mean that it'll actually happen, and I'm sure that Sprint will have a response to AT&T's "lack of standing" claim in no time. When and if Sprint does respond, you can bet that we'll pass the information along.
UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long. Sprint has answered AT&T's filing, saying that it's not surprised by the move and that it plans to issue a response next Friday.
AT&T has also argued that Cellular South's lawsuit should be dismissed, claiming that the regional carrier does not have a case. As evidence of its claim, AT&T included a copy of an email from Cellular South CEO Hu Meena which shows the exec asking for a network sharing agreement with AT&T in order to reduce its concerns with AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile. "This inappropriate proposal confirms that what Cellular South fears is competition, not lack of competition," AT&T said.