Justice Dept wants to put off AT&T-T-Mobile trial

Dec 09, 2011 By NEDRA PICKLER , Associated Press

(AP) -- The Justice Department said Friday it wants to withdraw or postpone its antitrust case against the proposed merger between AT&T Inc. and smaller rival T-Mobile USA now that the two companies pulled their application with the Federal Communications Commission to approve the deal.

The companies took back their FCC application two weeks ago after the commission's chairman came out against the $39 billion deal. The companies have said they will seek approval from a federal judge who has scheduled a February trial on the Justice Department's case, and will file another FCC application later.

The increasing government opposition is threatening the deal, with analysts now giving it only a slim chance of going through. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Wayland told U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle that there's "not a real transaction" until the companies file again with the FCC, and the government plans to file a motion next week to put off the case.

Huvelle gave the government until Tuesday to do so and scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the matter. Huvelle told AT&T she was concerned the was "using" the court and wasting its time. "I have some responsibility to the taxpayers ... to make sure we aren't being used in a way we weren't intended," Huvelle said.

AT&T attorney Mark Hansen responded that the Dallas-based company did not start the court battle. The did when it sued on Aug. 31, saying the combination of the No. 2 and No. 4 cellphone companies in the country would reduce competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.

Hansen said it didn't make sense to have both the FCC and the court trying to rule on the at the same time, so the companies decided to proceed first with the trial that's already been scheduled.

"If we can't convince the of this, we won't win," Hansen said. "We understand that."

George Cary, an attorney for T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG, told the judge the deal is over if the trial doesn't proceed expeditiously.

Explore further: Why the SIM card has had its day

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Judge sets first hearing in AT&T anti-trust case

Sep 07, 2011

The federal judge hearing the US government's lawsuit seeking to block AT&T's $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile has set a first meeting to discuss the prospects for a settlement.

FCC had 'questions of fact' on AT&T-T-Mobile deal

Nov 30, 2011

(AP) -- A report by the staff of the Federal Communications Commission says AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA provided flawed information to justify AT&T's planned $39 billion acquisition of its smaller rival.

AT&T, Telekom to press ahead with T-Mobile deal

Nov 24, 2011

Deutsche Telekom and AT&T vowed Thursday to press ahead with the planned sale of the German company's T-Mobile USA unit to the U.S. cell phone operator despite concerns raised by American authorities.

Recommended for you

Why the SIM card has had its day

Mar 05, 2015

The small microchips known as "subscriber identity modules" or SIM cards that are required for mobile phones to log on to a phone network will soon be 25 years old. While mobile phones and network technology ...

The UK doesn't yet need net neutrality regulations

Mar 04, 2015

The net neutrality debate in the US has ended, at least for now, with the Federal Communications Commission ruling for stricter regulation of telecoms and internet service providers (ISPs) in order to maintain ...

Italy adopts plans to shift into Internet fast lane

Mar 04, 2015

Italy's government adopted a six-billion-euro plan Tuesday to modernise its Internet network and improve access to broadband in hopes of shedding its reputation as one of Europe's online laggards.

Phone firms and the quest for the 5G Holy Grail

Mar 03, 2015

Lightning-quick downloads, driverless cars and remote surgery: telecom firms are racing to develop a new generation of "5G" mobile networks that could start to change the world in five years.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.