NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T has asked a court to eject rival Sprint Nextel from the process that looks at whether AT&T should be allowed to buy T-Mobile USA.

 

Sprint, the nation's third-largest cellphone company, and a smaller phone company, Cellular South, both want to be parallel participants in the Justice Department's suit against AT&T's acquisition on antitrust grounds. Participating would give them a chance to affect the proceedings, even if the Justice Department is the most important objector to the deal.

AT&T on Friday filed a motion to have the complaints by the two phone companies dismissed, saying Sprint and Cellular South are speaking in their own interests, not the public's.

Sprint says AT&T's motion is without merit, and it will respond next week.

AT&T shares fell 15 cents to $28.69 in late afternoon trading.