AT&T/T-Mobile lawsuit trial set for February 2012

The stage is now set for AT&T and T-Mobile to find out if their proposed $39 billion merger of the two wireless companies will actually happen. Reuters reports that on Wednesday U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle set a date of February 13, 2012 for the trial that will pit AT&T against the US Justice Department. The government filed a lawsuit against AT&T's merger proposal in late August, claiming that if the company is allowed to join with T-Mobile it would " ... remove a significant competitive force from the market."

One of AT&T's lawyers, Mark Hansen, tried to get Judge Huvelle to set an earlier date for the trial, claiming that their timetable to merge with T-Mobile was "already months beyond where we want to be." In a separate decision, Judge Huvelle set an October 24 date for a hearing to act on AT&T's request to dismiss a separate lawsuit from rival wireless company Sprint.

Before this week's trial date decision, AT&T said that the Justice Department's lawsuit did not prove its own case, saying, "The Department does not and cannot explain how, in the face of all these aggressive rivals, the combined AT&T/T-Mobile will have any ability or incentive to restrict output, raise prices, or slow innovation." However some believe that AT&T and the government might come to a settlement before the trial begins. If such a deal is reached, it might force AT&T to sell off some of its own assets or some of T-Mobile's properties to other companies.

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9 Comments

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What have they been doing? Just like this trial, they've been wasting my flipping money. As a taxpayer, I'm absolutely incensed that this trial is even going on. As an AT&T customer I'm even angrier. Gov't needs to get the heck out of business. I'm sick of this intrusive government run by people elected by, largely, ignorant socialists. Shrink government. Reduce the waste. Fire all the lawyers (I'll stop short of saying KILL all the lawyers).

ScubaDog said,
What have they been doing? Just like this trial, they've been wasting my flipping money. As a taxpayer, I'm absolutely incensed that this trial is even going on. As an AT&T customer I'm even angrier. Gov't needs to get the heck out of business. I'm sick of this intrusive government run by people elected by, largely, ignorant socialists. Shrink government. Reduce the waste. Fire all the lawyers (I'll stop short of saying KILL all the lawyers).

While I agree that government needs to be smaller and less involved in our lives, this is important. This is a market rife with regulation and VERY costly infrastructure. Taking one of the competitors out of the mix and rolling their assets into one of the largest competitors, particularly when there are only 4 real competitors to begin with, is a very big deal. It benefits no one but AT&T. And how long until Sprint went out of business under the market pressures placed on them by AT&T and Verizon? Then we'd have only two carriers... And due to the multitude of regulations and infrastructure costs, it is EXTREMELY unlikely that a new competitor is going to step in to the market. It's unlike some other industries. I applaud the government for their stance on this case and sincerely hope that it does not go through.

"However some believe that AT&T and the government might come to a settlement before the trial begins"

Do you think?

Is it any wonder the courts are so tied up when they set a date 5 months out?! I know it takes time to prepare, but what have they been doing in the last 2-3 months?

cork1958 said,
"However some believe that AT&T and the government might come to a settlement before the trial begins"

Do you think?

Is it any wonder the courts are so tied up when they set a date 5 months out?! I know it takes time to prepare, but what have they been doing in the last 2-3 months?

Keep in mind the government is arguing one side of the case... That's probably quite the crunch for them... And since Sprint was given only until October 24th to prepare for their argument, I would say it's pretty clear the government is the one delaying the case...

cork1958 said,
"However some believe that AT&T and the government might come to a settlement before the trial begins"

Do you think?

Is it any wonder the courts are so tied up when they set a date 5 months out?! I know it takes time to prepare, but what have they been doing in the last 2-3 months?


It's the same thing a political dance for the public. We already know that AT&T "Donated" over 1 million dollars to the wonderful people we elected to help pass the deal. Will those same people still be in office next term? Sure they will, because they have unlimited terms.

RawGutts said,
... Will those same people still be in office next term? Sure they will, because they have unlimited terms.

They do? Senators have a 6 year term. Also, Senators can and do get voted out more often than House Reps since they are more recognizable.