The future of the US wireless industry hinges on a court battle kicking off Monday, December 9, a case that could end with T-Mobile buying Sprint and Dish Network getting the go-ahead to enter the market.
In federal court in Manhattan, Judge Victor Marrero will weigh arguments from a group of states that say he should block the US$26.5-billion Sprint deal because eliminating competition between the two carriers would cause consumer prices to rise. T-Mobile claims the opposite: by combining with Sprint, it could reduce costs and lower prices.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a win for the companies would create a new wireless giant that would overtake AT&T Inc. to become the No. 2 carrier in terms of monthly regular subscribers behind Verizon Communications Inc. A loss would leave Sprint a distant No. 4 in the market, weighed down by a debt load that threatens to cripple the company.
The trial is expected to last two to three weeks, and a decision from District Judge Victor Marrero in the Southern District of New York is expected in February, according to people familiar with the proceeding, reported CNET. Experts and economists from both sides are expected to testify on whether the merger benefits consumers and what the merger will do to competition in the wireless market, as well as Sprint’s prospects for remaining a standalone company.
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