NEW YORK — Mississippi is one of nine states that have filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping a $26.5 billion merger of wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint.
As explained by Attorney General Jim Hood, T-Mobile and Sprint are two of the nation’s largest mobile wireless providers behind Verizon and AT&T, with 79 million and 54 million subscribers respectively.
Fierce competition between these four companies means declining prices, increased coverage area and overall better quality, he said. If the merger goes through that will effectively disappear.
“We’re trying to stop this merger because Mississippi customers would not benefit from the merger, but it would likely increase prices in the long run for them,” Hood said. “Competition creates a healthy market, and a merger like this one would reduce options for consumers.”
Other states that have joined Mississippi as plaintiffs in the lawsuit include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.
It’s an unusual step ahead of a decision by federal antitrust authorities.
The Justice Department has not yet issued a decision. The Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the nation’s telecom regulator, supports the deal.
For their part, the companies said they need to bulk up to upgrade to a fast, powerful “5G” mobile network that competes with Verizon and AT&T. The companies are appealing to President Donald Trump’s desire for the U.S. to “win” a global 5G race.