U.S. Justice Department reported on Friday that it would postpone or dismiss its lawsuit to stop the purchase of Deutsche Telekom’s T-mobile by AT&T as the companies have withdrawn application, in November, with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), so that they can focus on the Justice Department’s antitrust challenge to the acquisition.
“It’s not a real transaction until they file with the FCC,” Joseph Wayland, the Department of Justice’s lead attorney in the case, told U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle.
AT&T’s attorney Mark Hansen reassures the Judge Ellen Huvelle that the transaction will be the same in spite of the reports that the company could make the deal more acceptable to regulatory authorities.
According to Joseph Wayland, FCC approval is required to mark the transaction and Mark Hansen said that the only way to get the deal done is to go back to the FCC with a court victory that finds the merger is not anticompetitive”.
The Justice Department sued to block the agreement in August. That case is due to go to trial in February.
“Seven states and Puerto Rico joined the effort to block the deal, which would make AT&T the biggest U.S. wireless carrier” as reported by Bloomberg.
Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission oppose the merger plans, saying the newly formed company would be too large and would hurt competition. Also, the merger would remove T-Mobile USA, the nation’s fourth-largest provider, from competition, leaving AT&T and Verizon in first and second places with Sprint behind in a far-distant third place, where it says it would have difficulty competing.