Justice, AT&T agree to put off anti-trust trial

December 12, 2011 - 1:45 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — AT&T Inc. and the Justice Department have agreed to put off their upcoming antitrust trial over the phone company's proposed acquisition of smaller rival T-Mobile USA while the wireless carriers determine the fate of the deal.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle quickly approved their motion Monday to cancel their February trial and set a Jan. 18 status hearing. AT&T must file its plans with the court by Jan. 12.

The development comes as the $39 billion deal comes under increasing government opposition, with analysts now giving it a slim chance of going through.

The Justice Department sued to block the merger on Aug. 31, saying the combination of the No. 2 and No. 4 cellphone companies in the country would reduce competition and lead to higher consumer prices.