Four more states join attorneys general lawsuit to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger

Four more states join attorneys general lawsuit to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger
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Four more states have joined the lawsuit from attorneys general seeking to block the $26 billion T-Mobile-Sprint merger, bringing the number of states piling on against the deal to 14. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), one of the state attorneys general leading the lawsuit, on Friday announced that Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Nevada have joined onto the states' effort to block the merger.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonFormer Sanders aides launch consulting firm Minnesota AG will defend state's abortion restrictions despite personal views Hillicon Valley: House panel advances election security bill | GOP senator targets YouTube with bill on child exploitation | Hicks told Congress Trump camp felt 'relief' after release of Clinton docs | Commerce blacklists five Chinese tech groups MORE (D) in a statement said the merging of T-Mobile and Sprint would amount to "anticompetitive behavior [that] makes it harder" for consumers to "afford their lives."

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"It would lead to higher prices, fewer jobs, and less service," Ellison said in the statement. "When Minnesotans and Americans everywhere are already struggling to afford their lives, more market consolidation is the last thing they need. I’m joining the fight today against the Sprint/T-Mobile merger to keep that from happening.”

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraTrump drops bid to add citizenship question to 2020 census Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Appeals court appears skeptical of upholding ObamaCare mandate | Drug pricing deal faces GOP pushback | Trump officials look for plan B after court strikes drug TV ad rule Democratic group hits GOP attorneys general in six-figure ad campaign on ObamaCare MORE, who is leading the lawsuit alongside James, in a statement said the attorneys general plan to "do everything necessary to block unlawful mergers, including filing a preliminary injunction, if necessary, as part of our litigation." 

T-Mobile, Sprint and the states during a hearing on Friday agreed to a trial date of Oct. 7. 

The lawsuit is moving forward as the Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to mull whether it will approve the merger. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last month said it will greenlight the deal, which will reduce the number of major mobile wireless networks in the U.S. from four to three. 

The states seeking to block the deal include New York, California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia. 

They are arguing that combining two of the country's four largest mobile carriers could harm competition and drastically raise prices for consumers, estimating the deal could raise prices for consumers by at least $4.5 billion a year.

State attorneys general have the ability to sue to block mergers even before the DOJ and FCC make their final decisions, but it is rare for the states to file a lawsuit before both make the call. 

Recent reports have indicated that DOJ is likely to approve the merger, raising the likelihood that the deal will go through.

T-Mobile and Sprint are considering selling off prepaid subsidiaries and airwaves to satellite company Dish in order to gain the DOJ's approval. 

Top officials at the DOJ have pushed T-Mobile and Sprint to spin off a fourth competitor as part of any deal, a tough standard that the companies will likely struggle to meet, according to reports.

Updated: 2:38 p.m.