On June 11, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul joined eight other states and Washington, D.C. in a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the proposed merger of wireless communication companies T-Mobile and Sprint.
The complaint argues that combining the market share of T-Mobile and Sprint would result in less competition, higher prices, and reduced innovation. The state attorneys general allege the merger is in violation of the Clayton Act, the federal antitrust law prohibiting mergers that substantially lessen competition. Therefore, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York should permanently enjoin the merger and award the plaintiff states fees and costs.
T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to merge in 2018. As part of the merger, the companies have made commitments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the newly merged company would work to deploy 5G technology and broadband, including in rural areas. The companies also committed to keeping rates the same or better for three years after the merger.
The FCC has not yet approved the merger, though some commissioners have announced their support. The federal Department of Justice is expected to issue a decision on the merger soon. T-Mobile and Sprint had hoped to close the deal by July 2019, but the state attorneys general lawsuit could cause a delay.
On June 12, Attorney General Kaul also signed onto two additional multistate attorneys general actions. Kaul joined 43 state attorneys general in comments urging the Federal Trade Commission to develop antitrust policies for major tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, suggesting prior approval of acquisitions and transparency requirements. Kaul also joined a coalition of 20 states in an amicus brief in Sierra Club et al. v. Trump et al. The brief opposes the federal government’s motion to stay a preliminary injunction blocking the use of federal funds diverted to construct a border wall in New Mexico and Arizona.