Light Reading
The Department of Justice is expected to pore over the fine print of the marketing deals forged between Verizon and its new cable pals

DoJ Sniffs Around VZ Wireless-Cable Deals

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
12/20/2011
50%
50%

The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly investigating Verizon Wireless 's recent string of deals with four cable operators to see if they violate antitrust laws.

Verizon Wireless is looking to obtain a swath of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Bright House Networks , Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and, most recently, Cox Communications Inc. , for about $3.9 billion. Tied in, the MSOs and Verizon Wireless will cross-sell and cross-market each other's services, with the cable operators having an option to offer Verizon Wireless services under their own brands in about four years.

The DoJ was not immediately available for comment, but did confirm to Bloomberg that it is checking into the transactions without elaborating further.

BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk tells Light Reading Cable that the DoJ is likely interested in having the companies shed more light on the terms of the deals and views this more as standard procedure than a move by the DoJ to try to squash them.

"There was not much disclosure about the nature of the exclusivity of the marketing agreements between the companies, which likely requires some review by DoJ, given the power that these companies have in the markets where they compete," he said via email.

He suspects the DoJ will also examine the impact an exclusive deal could have on weaker competitors, such as Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), which are seeing their relationships with cable end as a result of the new agreements between Verizon Wireless and the MSOs. (See Comcast, TW Cable to Halt Clearwire Sales.)

Why this matters
Word of a DoJ dissection is not a huge surprise, because sensitivity around mobile and spectrum deals is at an all-time high after AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was forced to abandon its acquisition of T-Mobile US Inc. over mounting concerns that the deal would harm mobile competition. (See AT&T Drops Bid to Acquire T-Mobile and DoJ Blocks AT&T/T-Mobile Merger.)

And the rhetoric around the cable-Verizon Wireless deal is already heating up. Verizon, along with Comcast, Bright House and TW Cable, defended the deal in its request that the FCC transfer the spectrum to the mobile operator, claiming the deal will enable Verizon Wireless to add capacity and help it and its cable partners meet consumer demand for wireless broadband without decreasing consumer choice.

Free Press is asking for more transparency and an investigation that will shed more light on the nature of the deals. "Verizon and its newfound cable allies should stop hiding the ball," Policy Director Matt Wood said, in a statement that aired concerns that "there may be provisions" that would incent them to work together and resell other's products rather than rolling out their own services and battling for customers.

For more
Catch up on the cable-Verizon Wireless love-in.





— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive