Sprint Nextel lobbying against AT&T-BellSouth merger

Jun 06 2006 - 04:33 PM ET | In The News, Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel is continuing to protest against the proposed $67 billion merger of AT&T and BellSouth. The new company would completely control Cingular Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier. Sprint's objections to the deal center around access to data lines that carriers use to shuffle around call data. Sprint worries that AT&T could have an unfair advantage:

“The merger of AT&T and BellSouth will maintain and strengthen the combined company’s incentive to use its dominance in the provision of special access to disadvantage its wireline rivals as well as the commercial mobile radio service competitors of Cingular Wireless L.L.C.,” said Robert Foosaner, Sprint Nextel’s senior vice president of government affairs.

If the merger proceeds, the company will keep AT&T as the brand name. Moreover, Cingular's brand will be dumped in favor of AT&T. It's likely that the deal will ultimately go through, but it's unclear how many concessions AT&T will have to make to get there.