Sprint is taking its battle against the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile to the state public utility commissions.
The No. 3 wireless company in the U.S. has formally contested the $39 billion deal between T-Mobile and AT&T, writing to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, which oversees public utilities and telecommunications companies.
In its letter, Sprint says the merger will hurt competition. The letter also states that the merger does not make AT&T better able to deploy next-generation networks in the state. In addition, the merger would result in a duopoly of AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint also says that the merger will stifle innovation, saying that customers' satisfaction with T-Mobile has been rated consistently higher than AT&T.
The letter calls for a contested case proceeding, which means that the state would explore the benefits -- or lack thereof -- of the merger in a formal setting.
This filing is only the beginning. Several other states including California, Hawaii and Louisiana all have utilities regulators that have a say in approving the merger in their respective jurisdictions. Sprint plans to file with those entities as well.
J. Michael Schweder, AT&T's President of the Mid-Atlantic Region, said Sprint does not appear to have a plan in place to built faster networks. AT&T is trying to bring the latest and fastest mobile Internet service to most of the citizens of West Virginia. Since Sprint is trying to stop that, we hope state officials will ask Sprint what its own plans are for bringing LTE speeds to the people of West Virginia. We suspect Sprint either has no such plan, or that its own plans pale in comparison to AT&T's, he said via e-mail.
Congress will also hear about the merger. Next Wednesday (May 12) the Senate Judiciary Committee will take testimony on the transaction, though it has not yet announced who will be speaking. Sprint also plans to file a formal objection with the Federal Communications Commission.