Communications behemoth AT&T announced late last week that it would extend the date it expects to close its purchase of telecom company T-Mobile. AT&T originally expected to close the sale at the end of the first quarter of next year.

However, due to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ongoing investigation into the merger, AT&T now expects to close by the end of the first half of 2012.

AT&T announced it would purchase T-Mobile in March. The DOJ sued AT&T in late August in an effort to block the proposed $39 billion deal, claiming the merger would hurt competition in the U.S. wireless market. A court date for that trial has been set for February 2012.

Meanwhile, AT&T is attempting to avoid litigation by working with regulators to create a more acceptable deal. If the merger does proceed, AT&T would become the largest mobile provider in the U.S.