|AT&T and Deutsche Telekom Win Antitrust Trial Delay|
A US government suit to block AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile USA was put on hold after AT&T sought time to decide whether and how to adapt the deal to overcome government objections. AT&T, T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom and US justice officials together had asked the Washington DC federal court to postpone the antitrust trial over AT&T's proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile.
In a filing with the court, the Justice Department and the companies asked that all deadlines be suspended.
A hearing had been scheduled for Thursday, and the case was originally slated to go to trial on February 13.
In granting the postponement, US federal judge Ellen Huvelle set January 18 for a status conference "to address the course of any further proceedings in this action."
AT&T has been scrambling to save its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, which has run into trouble with US authorities who say it would reduce consumer choice in the already highly concentrated market for cellphone carriers.
The US Federal Communications Commission voiced opposition to the deal, and the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block it on August 31, saying it would harm competition.
AT&T said in a statement that it is working with Deutsche Telekom to find a solution. It faces a possible multi-billion dollar fee to the German firm if the deal does not go through.
"We are actively considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals so that we can deliver the capacity enhancements and improved customer service that can only be derived from combining our two companies' wireless assets," AT&T said in a statement.
The three companies proposed to the court filing a status report on January
12 on whether they intended to pursue the transaction or alter it.
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless provide more than 90% of the mobile wireless connections in the United States.