Last month we reported that AT&T had already spent $7 million dollars in lobbying efforts to secure their deal to purchase 4th place wireless carrier T-Mobile. At that time Sprint had reportedly only spent $583,000 in lobbying efforts to oppose the same deal.
Adweek is reporting that by the end of the second half of 2011 Sprint had spent $1.9 million dollars on lobbying against the AT&T/T-Mobile deal. In 2010 Sprint spent a total of $2.52 million on lobbying. In addition to that money Sprint has hired several DC lobbyists to help the effort. AT&T on the other hand had spent $11.6 million on lobbying in the first half of the year.
AT&T is the second largest wireless carrier in the US and one of the largest wire-line providers as well. Obviously they have way deeper pockets than Sprint. However this isn’t going to stop Sprint’s crusade to prevent the impending merger. Sprint contends that an AT&T buyout of T-Mobile would drive vendor prices up and creates a duopoly in the wireless industry. Sprint also says that AT&T’s argument that there is a spectrum crunch is false and that AT&T has spectrum warehoused from other deals.
More after the break
Three months before the AT&T/T-Mobile merger was announced at CTIA, AT&T had put in a successful bid of $1.9 billion dollars to purchase the spectrum from Qualcomm’s failed FLO-TV service. In papers filed with the FCC in June Sprint mentions this and other deals for spectrum that AT&T has yet to utilize.
The $39 billion dollar deal that would bring T-Mobile into the AT&T family is currently under review by the Federal Communications Commission as well as the Department of Justice. If both agencies don’t stop the merger AT&T will become the largest US wireless carrier.