Judge urges AT&T, DoJ to discuss settlement at Sept. 21 hearing

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The federal judge in charge of the Justice Department's case against the AT&T and T-Mobile merger has ordered the federal agency and AT&T to come to a Sept. 21 hearing prepared to discuss a settlement option.



Judge Ellen Huvelle also signed an order earlier this week requiring the Justice Department, AT&T and T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom to file a joint plan on scheduling and managing the case by Sept. 16, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.



The Justice Department filed its antitrust lawsuit to block the proposed acquisition on Aug. 31. The suit apparently caught AT&T executives by surprise, as they had expected to have more time to present their case.



The agency's case has been taken as a major blow to AT&T and T-Mobile's chances of finalizing the deal. But, Justice Department acting assistant attorney general Sharis Pozen has said "our door is open," despite having serious concerns.



A settlement would come as a surprise to some, though, because of the decisiveness with which the agency filed its lawsuit. ?It is true that you can always settle a case, but the Justice Department doesn?t use litigation as a settlement tactic,? said Harold Feld, the legal director of a consumer group opposing the deal, last week.



Rival carrier Sprint has filed its own lawsuit in opposition of the deal. As the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., the company alleges it would face an unfair duopoly of AT&T and Verizon if the former were allowed to purchase fourth-place T-Mobile.



In its suit, Sprint cites Apple's iPhone as a "classic example" of the advantage that AT&T and Verizon enjoy as the nation's two largest wireless carriers. According to a court filing, an exclusive arrangement for AT&T and a "time-to-market advantage" for Verizon have left Sprint competing "without access to the iPhone for nearly five years." That could change this fall, however, as the company will reportedly begin selling the iPhone 5 alongside its larger rivals.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    Hey Ellen, T and tMobile - let's see the DoJ make the case the sale breaks U.S. anti-trust law. Or is this another trade time and money for forcing concessions In some settlement?



    Edit: Now seriously Eric, I have three little letter for you.... K. S. M.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ?It is true that you can always settle a case, but the Justice Department doesn?t use litigation as a settlement tactic,? said Harold Feld, the legal director of a consumer group opposing the deal, last week.



    In these tough economic times every government official is looking for extra revenue. Here is a chance to charge ATT some money to fund DoJ.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    AT&T should drop the whole merger, or FCC should order it stopped.



    There is nothing to settle. AT&T has a distortion reality of what consumer protection is.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    In these tough economic times every government official is looking for extra revenue. Here is a chance to charge ATT some money to fund DoJ.



    You quoted what I was going to quote. How is it that a judge can ask their own team to just settle like that? That's really weird, right?



    Even if the DOJ settles for like $10B, where does that money go? Directly to the DOJ? Is the DOJ a corporation now, too?



    If we can blatantly pay off the long arm of the law and bypass the courts altogether for serious matters like this, then America is finished... and I'm no patriot, this is just bonkers...
  • Reply 5 of 30
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    How do you file a law suit decisively?



    decisively



    de·ci·sive

    adjective

    1.

    having the power or quality of deciding; putting an end to controversy; crucial or most important: Your argument was the decisive one.

    2.

    characterized by or displaying no or little hesitation; resolute; determined: The general was known for his decisive manner.

    3.

    indisputable; definite: a decisive defeat.

    4.

    unsurpassable; commanding: a decisive lead in the voting.



    ok - I suppose definition 2 would qualify - but even so the suit was not filed the day the news of possible merge was first in the media - or the same day as the meeting - and even then the document may have been worked up weeks in advance and gone through multiple revisions - with the meeting being the last hope of AVOIDING a suit altogether - so rather than without hesitation - unless someone talked to the parties involved - it might be just as accurate to say that it was files reluctantly or despite efforts to avoid legal proceedings.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    In these tough economic times every government official is looking for extra revenue. Here is a chance to charge ATT some money to fund DoJ.



    A settlement would not involve ATT paying money to the government. It would be a revised set of conditions under which the merger would be allowed to proceed.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post


    You quoted what I was going to quote. How is it that a judge can ask their own team to just settle like that? That's really weird, right?



    Even if the DOJ settles for like $10B, where does that money go? Directly to the DOJ? Is the DOJ a corporation now, too?



    If we can blatantly pay off the long arm of the law and bypass the courts altogether for serious matters like this, then America is finished... and I'm no patriot, this is just bonkers...



    This is really basic stuff... the DOJ is not part of the judiciary. They are part of law enforcement.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post


    This is really basic stuff... the DOJ is not part of the judiciary. They are part of law enforcement.



    What law did AT&T break (or about to break)? A Market Share law? If so, should Apple be next for "controlling" 80% of the tablet market?
  • Reply 9 of 30
    How much is AT&T paying this judge, I wonder?
  • Reply 10 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    What law did AT&T break (or about to break)? A Market Share law? If so, should Apple be next for "controlling" 80% of the tablet market?



    It's really disturbing to see people (not you, obviously) throw out thoughts/rants that have no basis in real law. Anti-trust law and the concepts behind them are quite basic yet many folks apparently have no idea what they are. Why is that?
  • Reply 11 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post


    AT&T should drop the whole merger, or FCC should order it stopped.



    There is nothing to settle. AT&T has a distortion reality of what consumer protection is.



    Their view is not distorted in any way. They know what consumer protection is. They simply don't care and are lying out their teeth.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post


    It's really disturbing to see people (not you, obviously) throw out thoughts/rants that have no basis in real law. Anti-trust law and the concepts behind them are quite basic yet many folks apparently have no idea what they are. Why is that?



    Because most of us have never been to law school - and in a time when there are 1000s of sources of information - it is too easy to become overwhelmed by the info - even though it may be easier than every to do research on at topic.



    "The media" has decided that the US public is stupid - and so creates information streams geared toward the lowest common denominator - not realizing that they are in fact pushing that denominator ever lower - when they could instead be lifting us up.



    For many - there is no desire to dig deeper - and so "we" as a nation get bad rap - not because there aren't plenty of intelligent people - but because the only "good" stories are the "bad' stories.



    Add to that the adversarial nature of our legal and electorate systems - and we are left now knowing who or what to believe.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    Try the



    "Cell phone free 30 day test".



    Turn your cell phone off for 30 days and discover at the end you will still be alive. Then you will remember that you existence does not depend on having a cell phone. I live fine without one. To expect the government to protect you from something that is entirely your choice to be victimized by is not realistic.



    This merger will go through. Everyone who chooses to participate will pay more in the future and get worse service. They will all whine and bemoan the treatment but when the new shiny iPhone comes out they will sign up for another two years of contractual abuse. Bobbles and beads, bobbles and beads. Works every time.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post


    Try the



    "Cell phone free 30 day test".



    Turn your cell phone off for 30 days and discover at the end you will still be alive. Then you will remember that you existence does not depend on having a cell phone. I live fine without one. To expect the government to protect you from something that is entirely your choice to be victimized by is not realistic.



    This merger will go through. Everyone who chooses to participate will pay more in the future and get worse service. They will all whine and bemoan the treatment but when the new shiny iPhone comes out they will sign up for another two years of contractual abuse. Bobbles and beads, bobbles and beads. Works every time.



    yeah - I might be alive after 30 days without a cell phone - but would I still be employed?
  • Reply 15 of 30
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,409member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


    yeah - I might be alive after 30 days without a cell phone - but would I still be employed?



    +1 on that.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    At least the DOJ is looking out for the interests of the US consumer. Wish our regulators in Canada had a similar disposition.



    T-Mobile has been a pioneer in the US. They rolled the dice so many times when others wouldn't. It's a network that adopts technologies early on. Android, WebOS, Blackberry, Sidekick, all got huge boosts on T-Mobile, when other networks wouldn't give them the time of day.



    There's also their price plans (unlimited data without overages) and pre-paid offerings. Competitive offerings that are becoming endangered species these days.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    What law did AT&T break (or about to break)? A Market Share law? If so, should Apple be next for "controlling" 80% of the tablet market?



    Only if they abuse their market power by, for example, manipulating prices or raising unfair barriers to entry.



    "The purpose of the [Sherman] Act is not to protect businesses from the working of the market; it is to protect the public from the failure of the market. The law directs itself not against conduct which is competitive, even severely so, but against conduct which unfairly tends to destroy competition itself.[5] This focus of U.S. competition law, on protection of competition rather than competitors, is not necessarily the only possible focus or purpose of competition law."



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act
  • Reply 18 of 30
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jetz View Post


    At least the DOJ is looking out for the interests of the US consumer. Wish our regulators in Canada had a similar disposition.



    T-Mobile has been a pioneer in the US. They rolled the dice so many times when others wouldn't. It's a network that adopts technologies early on. Android, WebOS, Blackberry, Sidekick, all got huge boosts on T-Mobile, when other networks wouldn't give them the time of day.



    There's also their price plans (unlimited data without overages) and pre-paid offerings. Competitive offerings that are becoming endangered species these days.



    Yup. The person who invents more efficient use of spectrum to allow more carriers to exist should get a giant statue in DC.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    This will ultimately go through, with ATT making some concessions.



    If not, T-Mobile will end up on the block anyway. That outcome does not help its current customers either - in fact, it's arguably worse.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    What law did AT&T break (or about to break)? A Market Share law? If so, should Apple be next for "controlling" 80% of the tablet market?



    You must not had read the comment I quoted. Here's the relevant part:



    "How is it that a judge can ask their own team to just settle like that? That's really weird, right?"



    I was pointing out that the the judge and the DOJ are not at all in the same organization.
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