The federal judge overseeing the Justice Department’s lawsuit against AT&T has asked both sides to discuss the prospects of a settlement on September 21st.
Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle signed an order on Monday asking the Justice Department, AT&T, and Deutsche Telekom (parent company of T-Mobile) to file a joint plan by Sept 16th on scheduling and managing the case. Judge Huvelle sits in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit on August 31st saying the acquisition would “substantially lessen competition” in the wireless market. AT&T said it would contest the litigation and is reportedly as working on a two track plan to address any merger concerns.
While the government’s criticism of the deal was harsh, officials have also suggested there was room to negotiate. Sharis A. Pozen, the acting assistant attorney general, said at an August 31st news conference: “We apprised them of our serious concerns. And as any party can do, our door is open”.
People briefed on the matter have said that AT&T also expects to enter in discussions about a possible solution.