By Gautham Nagesh - 09/12/11 04:15 PM EDT
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) wrote to Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski on Monday asking the commission to hold off on completing its own review of AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA until a federal court rules on the Justice Department's lawsuit to block the deal.
"While I do not believe it is the appropriate role of a Member of Congress to encourage the approval or disapproval of a particular merger, I believe it is in the interest of our economy to allow the Department of Justice and AT&T time to reach a possible settlement that balances the concerns about competition in the wireless market with the potential benefits of job creation and capital investment," Yarmuth wrote.
The two sides are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court next Wednesday to discuss the potential for a settlement; DOJ has argued the absorption of low-cost leader T-Mobile by AT&T would harm competition and increase prices in the wireless market.
AT&T has indicated a willingness to reach a settlement, which could include some type of pricing plans guarantees or divestitures to ensure competition in local markets. The FCC has yet to weigh in on the merger but is empowered to block the deal if the agency decides it is against the public interest.