T-Mobile USA Inc. has settled its antitrust litigation against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. This made T-Mobile the latest company to settle with the two companies in the antitrust litigation over interchange fees. There have been several other settlements in the case involving companies such as Orbitz LLC, Duke Energy Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. T-Mobile, Metro PCS Wireless Inc., VoiceStream Wireless Corp. and Western PCS Corp. said they had “fully settled” all claims against Visa and MasterCard. Their suit will be dismissed with prejudice.
We didn’t have the terms of the settlement at press time. T-Mobile is among those companies separately pursuing antitrust claims against Visa and MasterCard after the credit card giants reached a landmark $7.25 billion antitrust settlement over their alleged swipe fee conspiracy.
T-Mobile alleged in its complaint that default interchange fees set by Visa and MasterCard on credit card transactions that merchants must pay to banks constituted price-fixing and harmed competition. The cell phone company’s settlement came shortly after a number of companies, including Duke Energy and Orbitz, opted to settle with Visa and MasterCard as well. Other recent settlements in the case include those with companies such as Cox Communications, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Hewlett Packard Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc.
Those companies settled with the credit card giants after excluding themselves from the $7.25 billion settlement agreement, which received court approval in December. That settlement is currently before the Second Circuit on appeal taken by objectors who claim the deal paled in comparison to “the amount the credit card giants would rake in from their allegedly anti-competitive merchant rules and fees.” When the initial case was originally filed in 2005, the credit card giants and the banks that founded them were accused of conspiring to “artificially inflate interchange fees.” But by the time the landmark settlement was reached in 2012, the case’s focus had been narrowed down to the companies’ restrictions on merchants that accept their cards and the practice of setting interchange fees, which merchants pay to be able to accept credit or debit cards.
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