Sprint denied access to AT&T documents in fight against merger

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle recently shot down Sprint’s request to access a number of documents related to AT&T’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA. “You don’t stand in the shoes of the consumer or the Department of Justice,” Huvelle said. Sprint originally sued to block the merger in September, shortly after the U.S. Justice Department filed a similar case in August. AT&T recently asked a judge to toss the suit entirely and, like Huvelle, said Sprint was not in a position to argue from the consumer’s standpoint. “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,” AT&T said in the September court filing. Read on for more.

At least one expert believes Sprint would be more effective in blocking the deal if it had access to AT&T’s internal documents. “There are ways in which Sprint can be exceptionally helpful to the government agencies and I’m sure that they will continue to provide advice but with more access to documents they’re likely to provide better advice,” American Antitrust Institute president Bert Foer told Reuters.

Sprint has been vocal in its opposition of the planned merger and has argued it will “stifle” competition in the U.S. wireless market. Sprint attorney Steven Sunshine explained the importance of blocking the deal: “If this transaction goes forward, the plaintiffs will be impaired in their ability to compete,” he said.

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