FCC plans hearing on AT&T’s $39 billion offer for T-Mobile

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to ask for an administrative hearing on AT&T’s $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA, sources tell Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal.

The hearing would take place after the Justice Department’s antitrust case runs its course, with The Verge noting that it is yet another major roadblock facing the AT&T buyout of T-Mobile. The DOJ sued AT&T in August, arguing that the deal would hurt competition in the wireless industry.

“We remain confident that this merger is in the best interest of consumers and our country, and the facts will prevail in court,” AT&T said in a statement at the time.

Update: Sprint’s Vonya McCann, vice president of government affairs, offered this statement on news of the FCC decision.

“As Chairman Genachowski said in August when the Justice Department filed its antitrust lawsuit against AT&T, the record before the FCC presented, “serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition.”  That record is complete and more than justifies moving this matter to an Administrative Law Judge for a hearing.  We appreciate Chairman Genachowski’s leadership on this issue and look forward to the FCC moving quickly to adopt a strong hearing designation order.”