AT&T prepares for October legal battles over T-Mobile deal

AT&T (NYSE:T) plans to a file a motion to dismiss lawsuits brought by Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and C Spire Wireless to block AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. The procedural move sets the stage for what will be a long month of legal battles over the deal. The Department of Justice has also sued to block the deal on antitrust grounds.

AT&T had a court-ordered deadline to file to block the suits brought by Sprint and Cellular South, now known as C Spire Wireless. Both Sprint and C Spire have until Oct. 7 to reply to the motion and AT&T will respond by Oct. 13. All of the parties are due in court Oct. 24 before U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle, who is overseeing the case and who could decide on the Sprint and C Spire cases at that time. The Justice Department and AT&T will also meet again in court that day. A trial date between AT&T and the government has been set for Feb. 13.

Representatives for Sprint and C Spire did not immediately have a comment ahead AT&T actually filing its motion.

Meanwhile, Dish Network is urging the FCC, which is also reviewing the deal, to bring AT&T before an administrative law judge to determine whether the deal is in the best interest of consumers. Dish wants FCC approval to use 40 MHz of MSS S-Band spectrum to build an LTE-Advanced network, and argues that a delay in the approval process for the AT&T/T-Mobile deal could impact its network. 

"Timing is critical, and delay only benefits AT&T," Dish said in filing FCC, summarizing a meeting Wednesday with the staff of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. "There is no set of conditions or divestitures that would resolve the substantial harms posed to the public and to competition."  

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this separate Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this National Journal article

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