Sprint Seeks Peek at Private AT&T Filings in T-Mobile Deal

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) asked the Federal Communications Commission to grant it access to confidential documents filed as part of AT&T Inc. (T)’s proposed $39 billion purchase of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) unit T-Mobile USA.

Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless provider, has sought to block the merger, saying it would stifle competition and prevent smaller companies from getting access to the best mobile phones and other devices.

In a document filed yesterday with the FCC, outside attorneys for Sprint signed confidentiality agreements in advance of possibly gaining access to filings that won’t be available to the public.

In public copies of its April 21 application filed with the FCC, Dallas-based AT&T omitted information it considered confidential, such as details of its service limitations and geographical market share. Sprint wants to be able to view the complete filings available to FCC staff.

Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kansas, said it retained law firms Lawler, Metzger, Keeney & Logan LLC and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and consulting firm Charles River Associates.

AT&T and T-Mobile combined would have about 129 million subscribers, compared with 94.1 million for Verizon Wireless and 49.9 million at Sprint, based on year-end 2010 data.

“We cannot let this happen,” Sprint Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse said April 15 at an event in San Francisco.

AT&T needs approval by the FCC and U.S. Justice Department for the acquisition to proceed.

Sprint added 1 cent to $4.81 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 14 percent this year. AT&T rose 39 cents to $30.94 and have risen 5.3 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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