Last week saw the U.S. Department of Justice file suit in an attempt to have AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile blocked, catching most everyone off-guard and encouraging Sprint to file a suit of its own. Today it was revealed that the judge in the case between the DOJ and AT&T-Mobile, Judge Ellen S. Huvelle, has asked that the Justice Department, AT&T, and Deutsche Telekom put together a joint plan for scheduling and managing the case by September 16th. The judge also told all the parties involved in the suit that they should be "prepared to discuss the prospects for settlement” at a September 21st hearing.
Although it remains to be seen whether or not the Department of Justice and AT&T/Deutsche Telekom will end up reaching some sort of agreement, both sides seem ready to strike a deal. Sharis A. Pozen, the acting assistant attorney general, said last week that the DOJ's "door is open" for negotiations. Meanwhile, we've heard that AT&T has a two-track plan in place to get the government on board with the acquisition, which includes promising to keep T-Mobile's cheap rate plans in place after the deal is done as well as agreeing to sell off some of T-Mobile's assets post-merger. This case is definitely going to get more and more interesting in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for more as we get it.