States pose next hurdle for T-Mobile, Sprint

The $26 billion T-Mobile–Sprint deal faces one last major hurdle as a group of state attorneys general look to block the telecommunications mega-merger in court.

The controversial deal — which would combine two of the country’s top national mobile carriers into one company valued at $146 billion — has already cleared a series of pivotal regulatory hurdles this month.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) greenlighted the deal last week, and the Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) signaled they are ready to sign off on the plan.

Now, critics of the deal are turning their focus to the legal challenge from state attorneys general, saying it is the most significant hurdle the merger still has to clear.

“The state attorney general lawsuit has a lot of legal and factual merit,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a former state attorney general who has been critical of the T-Mobile–Sprint deal, told The Hill.

“No one can predict what the outcome in courts is going to be, but they have a lot going for them,” he added.

The group of 13 attorneys general, along with Washington, D.C., are moving forward with their litigation to block the merger, which they officially announced last month — even before the DOJ announced its decision on the deal.

The leads in the lawsuit, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), have argued the deal would raise prices on consumers, particularly those from low-income communities of color, and harm competition by reducing the number of major mobile carriers in the U.S. from four to three.

The attorneys general have not changed their tune following the DOJ decision.