The Justice Department and Amercan Telephone & Telegraph have been discussing a possible out-of-court settlement of the government's antitrust case against the huge company. But officials on both sides refused to comment on published. reports that an agreement was near. The trial of the government's case, filed more than six years ago, is scheduled to begin Jan. 15.
The government argues that unless AT&T is forced to divest part of its operations, the company will continue to use its monopoly power to keep competitors out of the expanding telecommunications industry.