Dallas - AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile could be headed for a major revision now that a U.S. district court judge approved a request by AT&T and the Justice Department to postpone an antitrust trial sought by the department to prevent the deal.
AT&T said it sought the postponement to allow it and T-Mobile to "evaluate all options."
In a written statement, AT&T said, "We are actively considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals so that we can deliver the capacity enhancements and improved customer service that can only be derived from combining our two companies' wireless assets."
AT&T is "committed to working with Deutsche Telekom to find a solution that is in the best interests of our respective customers, shareholders and employees," the carrier added.
The judge approved a motion to cancel a scheduled February trial and set up a Jan. 18 hearing on the future of the case.
AT&T and T-Mobile withdrew their application for approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) three weeks ago after
blasted the deal as anticompetitive but before the commission could vote on a proposal by the FCC chairman to send the matter to an administrative law judge for further review. By law, the FCC could approve the merger with or without conditions but could not deny it outright without giving it the additional hearing.
Sprint Nextel has also filed its own antitrust lawsuit following August's filing of a
to block the merger.
Under the current terms of the merger agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile, AT&T must pay T-Mobile $3 billion in cash and give the carrier $1 billion is spectrum if the deal doesn't go through.