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Posted at 11:22 AM ET, 03/22/2011

Sprint CEO says AT&T, T-Mobile merger would ‘stifle innovation’

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, speaking on a panel at the CTIA wireless association’s annual conference, said Tuesday that the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile would stifle innovation in the industry.

Hesse was joined on stage in Orlando by Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead and AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets CEO Ralph de la Vega for a panel discussion.

When asked for his opinion about the merger, Hesse originally said that his opinion didn’t matter.

“I think the [Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice] will have the say on that,” he said.

Eventually, Hesse said that a merger would result in Verizon and AT&T controlling 79 percent of the market. He told the audience that he has concerns the proposed deal puts “too much power into the hands of just two.”

Hesse’s comments echoed a strongly worded statement Sprint issued against the merger on Sunday afternoon as news of the merger broke.

Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead said that Verizon had never really considered purchasing T-Mobile because the company is comfortable with its position in the market and with the spectrum it currently has.

Mead said that thinks the mobile industry is an innovative environment and that fears about the merger were overstated. “I’m not concerned about it,” he said, referring to the merger.

AT&T’s de la Vega defended the deal by sticking to AT&T’s company line that the deal is in the public interest, citing potential improvements such as increased network density and an expanded LTE coverage.

Related stories:

AT&T, T-Mobile merger blasted

Battle over AT&T, T-Mobile deal begins in Washington

AT&T agrees to buy T-Mobile USA

By  |  11:22 AM ET, 03/22/2011

Tags:  AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, FCC, DOJ

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