The largest independently owned regional wireless carrier in the country, Cellular South, filed a lawsuit Tuesday, in an attempt to block the pending AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Cellular South is the 9th largest carrier in the US by sales and operates in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Kentucky.
Despite being a smaller carrier, Cellular South joins the ranks of Sprint and the Department of Justice in those who’ve filed suit against the proposed merger. Cellular South currently has just under a million customers. AT&T on the other hand has 96 million customers. Cellular South contends that they are already impacted by the big two; Verizon and AT&T, which will only get worse if the merger is granted.
Cellular South said: “The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile is anti-competitive, and will result in consumers facing higher prices, less innovation, fewer choices and reduced competition,”
Sprint contends that the merger will impact customers by driving rates up in a monopolistic landscape. The merger will also drive up vendor prices for companies that supply wireless carriers with needed equipment for infrastructure build out. Seven attorney generals have joined the ranks of the DOJ as well in their opposition to the proposed deal.
Forbes has now downgraded the likeliness that the merger will happen to 30-40%. Sprint also commented on Cellular South’s actions saying:
“Today Cellular South stands with the U.S. Department of Justice, seven state Attorneys General and Sprint in asking the Courts to protect American consumers from the harms to competition, innovation, and pricing that likely would result if AT&T is allowed to takeover T-Mobile,” Vonya McCann, Sprint’s senior VP of government affairs at Sprint said