Eight telephone service providers and associations will ask the Massachusetts attorney general today to investigate whether Baby Bell companies conspired illegally to suppress competition.
In the letter to be delivered to Atty. Gen. Tom Reilly, the group urges an investigation into whether the Bells violated Massachusetts law not only by allegedly arm-twisting their suppliers and manufacturers but also by dividing market territories and not competing against each other.
A copy of the letter was obtained Wednesday by The Times.
The Baby Bells want their major equipment suppliers to support a campaign to end state and federal regulation of the prices local phone companies such as SBC Communications Inc. can charge competitors to use their lines.
In the last two months, rivals and their trade groups have asked attorneys general in California and New York as well as Senate and House judiciary committees for investigations.
None has yet decided whether to start an inquiry.
The issue arose after The Times published details from an internal memo about an Oct. 20 dinner meeting between Bell chief executives and their counterparts at Intel Corp., Siemens USA and other vendors.
The U.S. Telecom Assn., which hosted the dinner and wrote the memo, has denied that any antitrust laws were broken.
A spokesman has said the activity was protected from antitrust laws by a federal doctrine that allows such meetings to address public policy concerns.
The association has called the allegations "baseless and slanderous."
The Bells also have said they are competing with each other for business customers in major metropolitan areas and that they have good business reasons not to compete for each other's residential customers.