Oregon has joined several other states in a lawsuit to stop the planned T-Mobile merger with Sprint, adding strength to a movement to stop the shrinking telecom market from becoming even less competitive.
In late July the Department of Justice approved T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint, a $26 billion deal that would allow U.S.’s third-largest wireless carrier to gobble up the fourth-largest provider—so long as T-Mobile and Sprint sell prepaid businesses and wireless spectrum to Dish Network. That would make Dish the fourth-largest carrier, and one that would be dependent on T-Mobile.
Before the Justice Department signed off on the merger, a multistate lawsuit, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James, was filed on June 11.
The original ten states that filed the suit argued that the merger would hinder competition—creating a compressed market that raises prices and limits choices for customers—costing Sprint and T-Mobile customers $4.5 billion annually. The suit states that this annual estimate is a conservative prediction since it was based on the simulations provided by economists hired by Sprint and T-Mobile.
On Monday, the New York attorney general’s office announced that the suit was gaining support, as Oregon had joined fifteen states and the District of Colombia in fighting the merger.
“Oregon’s addition to our lawsuit keeps our momentum going, and ensures that there isn’t a single region of this country that doesn’t oppose this anticompetitive megamerger,” James said in a statement.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum added that if the merger is “left unchallenged, the current plan will result in reduced access to affordable wireless service in Oregon—and higher prices. Neither is acceptable.”
The other states in the lawsuit are Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin. Texas joined the effort on August 1, making it the second state in the group with a Republican attorney general.
Sprint chose not to comment for this story. T-Mobile did not respond to a Gizmodo request for comment. According to Reuters, T-Mobile has said it will not finalize the merger until the multi-state litigation ends.