Justice Department Gears Up for AT&T Litigation

The U.S. government doesn’t appear to be gung-ho in reaching a settlement agreement with AT&T over a lawsuit aimed at blocking the telecom titan’s purchase of T-Mobile USA.

Asked at a Senate hearing whether the U.S. Department of Justice is in the case “for the long haul,” Attorney General Eric Holder responded that the agency doesn’t file a case if it is not prepared to see it through, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“There is a trial team that is in place and they are ready and eager to go to court,” The Journal quoted Holder.

AT&T is set to battle the Justice Department in federal court during a trial that is set for February. The Justice Department plans to hire Glenn Pomerantz, a litigator at law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, to strengthen its legal team for the trial, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department claims AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA will significantly reduce competition in the U.S. wireless market — hurting Americans — and should be blocked under antitrust law.

AT&T maintains there is ample competition and that its merger will create nearly 100,000 jobs. The company also has reiterated that T-Mobile USA has been struggling to compete in the face of subscriber losses, has no clear path to migrate to fourth-generation LTE services, and that its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, wants to focus its investments in Europe and not on T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless provider.

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