(Updated below with T-Mobile statement)
Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna today joined the opposition to AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA, signing the company’s home state on as a plaintiff in the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit to block the deal.
“This merger will result in less competition, fewer choices and higher prices for Washington state consumers,” McKenna said in a news release. “If the deal goes through, two companies will control roughly three quarters of mobile subscribers in the U.S. Antitrust laws exist to prevent such strangleholds over products and services.”
McKenna acknowledges AT&T’s assertion that the deal is needed to give it the wireless spectrum required to meet rising demand from consumers but says there are “other viable options to obtain or develop the spectrum it says it needs.”
Six other states – California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — also joined the DOJ suit as plaintiffs today.
AT&T has said it will fight the DOJ suit and attempt to press ahead with the deal.
A group of U.S. legislators yesterday urged President Obama to settle the suit and allow the deal to proceed.
UPDATE: Asked for a response to McKenna’s announcement, T-Mobile issued this statement from Tom Surgrue, T-Mobile USA senior vice president of government affairs. ”Given the numerous benefits the merger will bring to consumers, businesses, and the U.S. economy in the form of greater innovation, enhanced competition, and increased jobs, we remain confident that the facts will prevail and the acquisition will proceed.”