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AT&T/T-Mobile Want January Court Date; Justice Says March For Antitrust Trial

AT&T and T-Mobile want the court to try the Justice Department's antitrust suit against their proposed merger starting Jan. 16, while Justice says not until March 19.

According to a status report filed by Justice on talks with the companies about scheduling the trial, they will be willing to discuss that timing at their upcoming Sept. 21 scheduling conference with the judge.

Justice said they had come to an agreement on timing of other elements--like brief deadlines--but pointed out that the final trial date decision would affect those intervening dates.

AT&T had said it wanted expedited review. If the suit is not settled before either of those dates, it would push the government's final decision on the merger until sometime next year. The Federal Communications Commission is also vetting it, but might be reluctant to approve the deal before the court case is decided.

Justice sued to bock the deal on antitrust grounds, saying it would reduce competiton and innovation and increase prices. AT&T and T-Mobile say it boost rural broadband deployment and create jobs.