The Department of Justice Friday told a federal judge it intended to file either a motion for stay or to dismiss its complaint against AT&T–T-Mobile in light of the fact that there was no longer a merger application before the FCC.
AT&T withdrew that application after the FCC signaled it did not think the deal passed competitive muster and that it had material issues an FCC judge would have to adjudicate, essentially the FCC chairman's way of saying he opposed the deal.
DOJ informed the judge of its plan in a status conference Friday, according to a source familiar with the proceeding.
But AT&T is not looking to get out of its February court date, hoping that it can make a case for the deal in court, and use that win in re-filing the deal at the FCC.
"We are anxious to bring to the American consumer the benefits of increased wireless network capacity and efficiencies that can only arise from combining the resources of AT&T and T-Mobile USA," said Wayne Watts, AT&T senior EVP and general counsel, in a statement following the conference. "We are eager to present our case in court."
The judge asked AT&T to file a response to Justice's request after it decides which, and has scheduled another status conference for next Thursday (Dec. 15).
Justice filed an antitrust suit against the proposed $39 billion deal. It said that the deal "would substantially lessen competition for mobile wireless telecommunications services across the United States, resulting in higher prices, poorer quality services, fewer choices and fewer innovative products for the millions of American consumers who rely on mobile wireless services in their everyday lives."
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