AT&T has filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court to stop the law firm that is attempting to block the merger with T-Mobile. The firm Bursor & Fisher has filed arbitration cases on behalf of AT&T customers against the carrier, hoping to stop its acquisition of T-Mobile. However, it is in AT&T’s Terms of Service that its customers may not use its arbitration clause for such matters.
“This merger will provide tremendous benefits for customers and unleash billions of dollars in badly needed investment, creating many thousands of well-paying jobs that are vitally needed given our weakened economy — a fact that’s been recognized by consumers, public officials and groups of all types,” AT&T told AllThingsD. “However, the bottom line here is an arbitrator has no authority to block the merger or affect the merger process in any way. AT&T’s arbitration agreement with our customers — recently upheld by the Supreme Court — allows individual relief for individual claims. Bursor & Fisher is seeking class-wide relief wrapped in the guise of individual arbitration proceedings, which is specifically prohibited by AT&T’s arbitration agreement. Accordingly, the claims are completely without merit. We have filed suit in order to stop this abusive action.”
What’s unclear is what the “tremendous benefits for customers” are, and whether the new jobs created will make up for the thousands of jobs that will be lost when T-Mobile is acquired. Additionally, local and federal government officials, as well as other companies in the wireless industry, have raised questions about the potential harm of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger.
Many opposed to the acquisition have stated that it will stifle innovation and give AT&T too much control of the wireless market in the U.S. Moreover, competition will be much tougher for carriers like Sprint, who will be dwarfed by the mega-carrier that AT&T would become if the deal is approved by the FCC and Department of Justice.
While it seems that AT&T has a fair point in blocking the arbitration files against it, how do you feel about the potential acquisition now that we’re nearly half a year since the announcement?