The Circuit: Cellular South sues to block merger, Falcone defends LightSquared, FCC and Comcast kick off low-cost Internet plans

LEADING THE DAY: Cellular South, the largest privately held wireless provider in the United States, filed its own suit objecting to AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile, saying that the move will translate to higher roaming costs for regional carriers and diminish competition.

The Mississippi-based carrier’s announcement follows Sprint’s announcement that it will join the Justice Department and seven states in filing suit to stop the $39 billion acquisition.

Falcone defends project: LightSquared Investor Philip Falcone denied Monday that his donations to the Democratic party were an attempt to gain regulatory favor for the satellite-based mobile network. “People think we have made contributions to grease the wheels ... that’s so wrong, it’s disgusting,” Falcone said in an interview on Fox News. The White House and Falcone have also denied allegations that Air Force General William Shelton was pressured to give favorable testimony on LightSquared in a hearing last week, The Washington Post reported. When asked if he would be willing to share his communications with the FCC — a request Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has made of the agency — Falcone said that communications would show there was no wrongdoing. He did not, however, agree to disclose the communications.

Comcast, FCC kick off broadband essentials program: The Federal Communications Commission and Comcast are kicking off the national rollout of the Internet Essentials program Tuesday, which provides low-cost Internet access and computers to low-income families. To qualify for the program, families must have children who are eligible for the National School Lunch program.

Google Wallet: Google officially started rolling out its contactless payment service, Google Wallet, on Monday. The company began sending its payment app to Sprint Nexus S 4G phones in an over-the-air update and announced it will give a $10 to any person who sets up a Google Wallet before the end of the year.

Google launched the Wallet program with Citi MasterCard, but said it’s also speaking to Visa, Discover and American Express to expand the program.

One-third of Americans prefer texts: A recent survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 31 percent of Americans said that they prefer texting to talking on the phone, as compared with 53 percent who said they prefer a voice call. However, 55 percent of heavier text users — those who exchange more than 50 messages a day — said that they would rather receive a text message than a call.

The study found that, on average, users send or receive an average of 41.5 text messages on a typical day. The study also found that text message use and voice call averages have largely remained unchanged since 2010.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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