Dan Hesse, chief executive officer of Sprint Nextel Corp., right, looks on as Philipp Humm, president and chief executive officer of T-Mobile USA Inc., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the AT&T/T-Mobile merger in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. (Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)

Sprint asked staff for Commissioners Michael Copps and Robert McDowell last Friday to “act promptly to designate AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile for a hearing before an administrative law judge.”

Such a move would be the next step for the FCC to take if it is going to deny the merger. Consumer group Public Knowledge and competitor Dish Network have made similar requests of the FCC, which is in day 119 of its informal 180-day timeline to complete its review.

The FCC’s review is separate from that of the Justice Department, which has already determined the deal breaks antitrust laws and should be prevented.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski expressed concerns after the Justice Department sued to block the deal last Aug. 30.

While awaiting the FCC’s decision, AT&T and T-Mobile are also fighting for their merger in a federal court. Last Friday, AT&T filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to dismiss suits by Sprint Nextel and Cellular South to prevent its union with T-Mobile. Sprint this Friday will reply to the motion.


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