AT&T Hearing Postponed to Dec 9th; Surprise Move by Court

November 29, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

In what could be seen as a surprise move, the next hearing on the Department Of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against AT&T has been postponed. As per the postponement, the next hearing date would happen on December 9th.

Pointing out that the change in hearing date could be attributed to a scheduling conflict, Judge Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC,  made this surprise announcement keeping all who have been waiting to know what would happen next in the lawsuit look forward to the new date.

As you might be aware, the antitrust implications of AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile were to come up at the hearing. It may also be recalled that AT&T had withdrawn their bid to pocket T-Mobile, post- the original DOJ filing.

Now that the AT&T withdrawal has come about, possibilities are the next hearing will see implications of the carrier’s move. It is also being reported that the DOJ hearing could even be put on hold.

A few days ago, we had brought to you news of AT&T offering to divest some of the T-Mobile assets so as to persuade the FCC to approve the purchase.

The ongoing objections to the AT&T – T-Mobile deal are expected to see a lull following the divestiture announcement made by AT&T. In the meanwhile, support for the deal has come in form unexpected quarters. The Communications Workers of America, which feels that the purchase of T-Mobile will create around 100,000 jobs, is all for the deal.

It is also being pointed out that in case the courts decline permission for the acquisition, and AT&T made to pay up $4 billion as break up fee to T-Mobile, the communication industry might get to see a new twist.

T-Mobile, with a cool $4 billion in their kitty, could prove to be a bigger threat to Sprint and other players who are fighting against the AT&T – T-Mobile deal. Now, that’s going to be a new situation altogether.  Tell us your take on this.

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