Sprint CEO Dan Hesse says AT&T, T-Mobile deal will ‘stifle innovation’

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse on Tuesday shared strong opinions surrounding AT&T’s recent announcement that it plans to acquire T-Mobile USA from Europe’s Deutsche Telekom. Speaking on Tuesday morning at the CTIA Wireless 2011 convention, Hesse said AT&T’s plans to acquire T-Mobile will hurt customers. He also said that if approved by regulators, the deal would leave two big players — AT&T and Verizon Wireless — in control of 79% of the U.S. wireless market. “I do have concerns that it would stifle innovation and too much power would be in the hands of two,” Hesse said during a roundtable discussion. His comments were met with applause from the audience. Hesse added that Sprint will appeal to Congress in an effort to halt the merger. AT&T Mobility boss Ralph de la Vega defended the deal on Tuesday, saying it would address the spectrum shortage the U.S. is currently facing, and would bring mobile broadband service to more people. Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel Mead, who was in attendance at the roundtable discussion, seemed less concerned with the potential merger. “We’re observing what’s going on,” Mead noted. “We’re not going to get distracted by this.”

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