AT&T Exec Strikes Back at Sprint over Merger Criticism

AT&T and Sprint Nextel executives are engaged in a war of words.

Sprint Nextel Chief Executive Dan Hesse last week criticized AT&Ts $39 billion planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA, the nations fourth-largest mobile operator owned by Deutsche Telekom.  

If AT&T is allowed to swallow T-Mobile, competition will be stifled, growth will be stifled and wireless innovation will be jeopardized,” Reuters quoted Hesse as telling reporters and industry executives in San Francisco.

But AT&Ts Jim Cicconi senior executive vice president-external and legislative affairs struck back at Hesse in a blog posting Friday.

Hesses comments, Cicconi said, were way off base” and totally at odds with his own past statements.”

Given that Sprint is a major competitive to AT&T in the hyper competitive wireless market Mr. Hesse describes, no one should be surprised that they would oppose this merger,” Cicconi said. But it is self-serving for them to argue that the highly competitive wireless market they cited only months ago is now threatened by the very type of transaction they seemed prepared to defend previously.”

Sprint is the nations third-largest mobile operator behind AT&T (No. 2) and Verizon Wireless (No. 1).  

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