AT&T Vows to Pursue T-Mobile Acquisition, Immediately Hints Otherwise

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Danny Moloshok / REUTERS

If you thought that withdrawing its merger application from the Federal Communications Commission following accusations of providing “flawed information” would deter AT&T from pursuing its acquisition of T-Mobile, then you’ve clearly underestimated just how much the telecommunications giant cares about its customers. Well, possibly.

Speaking at the UBS Conference on Global Media yesterday, AT&T CFO John Stephens said that the company “continue[s] to pursue the sale,” adding that “it’s important to remember why we did this deal in the first place. It’s for our customers. It’s a solid, strategic move that will help us provide better service, while addressing the spectrum concerns that everyone in the industry shares.”

(MORE: FCC Has ‘Questions of Fact’ on AT&T-T-Mobile Deal)

Later in his presentation, however, a bit of odd wording made some wonder whether protestations of continuing were simply a ruse:

As I said before, we are going to continue to work with our partner DT, Deutsche Telecom, and work toward a resolution of the transaction. Those conversations, as they occur, if and when they occur, and as they occur with the Department of Justice, will be kept confidential out of respect for them and for our partners and in hopes to improve the opportunity for the process to be successful.

The use of “if and when they occur” has led some to wonder whether AT&T is closer to giving up the T-Mobile ship than it’d care to admit. Has the company decided to abandon plans after all? And if so, what about the customers?

MORE: AT&T Faces Major FCC Hurdle in T-Mobile Acquisition

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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