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 Federal Communications Commission.
The DOJ informed the judge of its plan in a status conference Friday, according to a source familiar with the proceeding
AT&T withdrew the merger application after the commission signaled it did not think the deal passed competitive muster and that it had material issues an FCC judge would have to adjudicate. Essentially that was FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's way of saying he opposed the deal.
But the giant telco 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 refiling 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 executive vice president 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 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. "