DOJ questions if the AT&T and T-Mobile deal is still active

But a special master overseeing the DOJ's antitrust case says the litigation remains on track

AT&T's decision to withdraw its application to obtain T-Mobile USA's mobile spectrum license at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission raises a question about whether the company's proposed acquisition is still active, the U.S. Department of Justice has said.

The DOJ Tuesday noted that AT&T has withdrawn its license transfer application at the FCC, with the company saying a withdrawal represents an intent to "abandon the transaction altogether" or to submit a new, substantially changed application.

AT&T decided to withdraw the application after the FCC announced that staff there had found the US$39 billion merger contrary to the public interest. The FCC had intended to refer the license application to a hearing before an administrative law judge.

The DOJ, in a Tuesday telephone conference, questioned whether AT&T's merger application was still active, wrote Richard Levie, a special master overseeing the DOJ's antitrust case against the merger. "DOJ interprets these comments to mean that the current litigation may, in fact, not present a live case or controversy," Levie wrote in an order.

But Levie, who was appointed special master in the case at the request of both AT&T and the DOJ, said he believes the DOJ case can move forward without a license transfer application pending at the FCC.

"The FCC-related activities have not ... altered the status of this litigation," he wrote. "Although FCC approval is necessary for the proposed merger, so, too, is a favorable ruling from the federal court in this case. As there is no requirement of which the Special Master is aware that one approval must come before the other, the federal court case remains on track."

A trial in the antitrust case is scheduled to begin on Feb. 13.

An AT&T spokesman declined to comment on the DOJ's questions about the status of the merger. A scheduling conference in the antitrust case is scheduled for Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Levie's Wednesday order denied a motion by mobile broadband firm LightSquared to quash an AT&T request to depose LightSquared officers. A DOJ spokeswoman declined to comment on the nature of the deposition.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentmobileregulationlegaltelecommunication3g4gantitrustat&tU.S. Department of JusticeT-Mobile USALightSquaredRichard Levie

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?