AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom, the parent of T-Mobile USA, have discussed forming a joint venture that would pool network assets from the two US wireless carriers as an alternative transaction if their current acquisition deal falls apart, people familiar with the matter said.
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These discussions are not advanced and were described by the people more as a plan the two companies have on the backburner. Still, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom are likely to take a closer look at a joint venture as AT&T's planned $39-billion purchase of T-Mobile USA faces mounting opposition, they added.
In August, the US Department of Justice said it would block AT&T's proposed acquisition for T-Mobile USA on antitrust grounds. AT&T plans to fight the move, and the case is scheduled to go on trial in February.