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AT&T Takes Aim at Sprint

AT&T launched a new ad campaign Tuesday in its effort to secure support and approval of the T-Mobile merger.

"It's all about spectrum," said the one-page ad, which ran in the Washington Post, Politico and other Hill publications, and targeted deal opponent Sprint. "Sprint owns a majority economic stake in Clearwire, and the FCC treats them as one when analyzing spectrum holdings. Together they control over one-third of the mobile wireless spectrum held by U.S. wireless carriers--far more than any other provider," says the ad, which explains itself by saying it is providing the information "In case you're wondering why Sprint is trying to kill the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, you can't blame them for wanting to keep it that way."

Sprint has argued that the deal will lessen competition and increase prices, and should be blocked.

But AT&T is also trying to accentuate the positive. In a TV spot currently airing, the company pitches the deal as a way to boost service and bring a company under foreign ownership back to America's shores (T-Mobile is owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom).

The Justice Department, a handful of state Attorneys General and now Cellular South have sued to block the merger. AT&T and Justice are scheduled to meet with a judge Sept. 21 to talk about scheduling the hearing of that challenge. Meanwhile, Justice has said it is open to talking to AT&T about the competition issues.