AT&T was all set to swallow-up T-Mobile, becoming even more of a carrier heavyweight, and most importantly to smartphone users, get its hands on T-Mobile’s spectrum holdings, ready to be re-tasked for 4G LTE data. Even with some very public complaints from Sprint, it looked at first like the FCC might give the proposed deal the go-ahead. That forecast took a 180 at the end of August when the US Department of Justice stepped in and followed suit to block the sale on antitrust grounds. As that smoke clears, we’re left wondering “what’s next?” in this wireless network saga.
The judge presiding over the case made an order earlier this week that starts to give us a timetable of when we might begin to see all parties involved come to some sort of resolution. The DOJ, T-Mobile, and AT&T are to be ready by September 21 to talk settlement. If AT&T doesn’t want to try its luck in court, it may consider agreeing to sell off a good portion of T-Mobile’s assets, in order to appease these antitrust concerns. Even if it does want to go down that road, it would likely still be some time before all details can be agreed upon; getting this dialogue going is still a start, at least.