Sprint and Verizon speak about AT&T-Mobile in very different ways

September 22, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka

AT&T, Carriers, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon


The CEO’s of Sprint and Verizon have both recently commented on AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. But the CEO’s of the nation’s leading CDMA carriers have differing views about the proposed merger of the leading GSM carriers.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam came out in support of the proposed deal, saying that it was an inevitable match that the Department of Justice should not stand in the way of happening. Marketwatch reports that McAdam, who has mainly been silent on the issue, finally expressed approval for the deal and discouraged government involvement.

“AT&T needed the spectrum, they didn’t have it in order to take care of their customers, and so that match had to occur…So in my discussions with the FCC and folks on the Hill, if we want to stop or if the government wants to stop a merger like that, they need to then step up and say, this is how we are going to get spectrum in the hands of people.”

McAdam’s comments are not surprising. He must say this because there may come a time when Verizon is the company looking to purchase another carrier, so it would look bad to come out against its rival. McAdam also doesn’t see government regulation as favorable to the wireless industry, so the DOJ’s involvement is troubling to him.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse on the other hand is firmly against the deal. Hesse has already expressed his opposition to AT&T-Mobile on several occasions, and for the first time, he hinted at why. Previous statements were about the interest of competition and affordability being harmed if AT&T were allowed to purchase a rival to control so much of the mobile phone industry. According to BGR, Hesse isn’t against mergers per se – just the ones that aren’t advantageous to Sprint.

“I don’t believe that what the DOJ said in any way, not even a little bit, should be viewed as we want to keep four…My view is [the Justice Department] would look at other consolidation very differently.”

Plenty of people suspected the reason Sprint opposes AT&T buying T-Mobile was because it would make Sprint the odd man out. Currently in third place, losing it’s nearest competitor – and long-rumored merger target – would weaken Sprint’s position. Sprint may get one step closer to its wish when the DOJ addresses AT&T’s acquisition hopes at a trial date set for February 13, 2012.