& cplSiteName &

FCC Green-Lights AT&T's Leap Buy

Sarah Thomas

The FCC has officially cleared the path for AT&T to acquire Leap Wireless, noting that concessions the carrier has made are enough to satisfy any public interest concerns.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced its intent to acquire Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP), which operates the Cricket Communications Inc. brand, in July of last year. The $1.19 billion deal earned Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval Thursday evening. (See AT&T to Acquire Leap Wireless for $1.19B.)

The FCC found that the "public interest benefits of the proposed transaction outweigh the likelihood of significant public interest harms, such that overall, the proposed transaction is in the public interest." It didn't come without conditions, however.

AT&T has to divest spectrum in certain markets, as well as agreeing to begin deploying LTE using Leap's spectrum within 90 days to 12 months of closing -- and within 18 months in six specific markets in south Texas where Leap had a big swatch of customers. It also has to maintain Leap's CDMA roaming agreements as long as it keeps the network around. (See AT&T Plans a Prepaid Cricket Attack.)

The FCC is also requiring AT&T to continue to offer rate plans targeted at value-conscious and Lifeline customers, as well as to provide it with quarterly updates on how it's meeting the conditions and the migration of Leap customers.

AT&T gains nearly 5 million new prepaid customers through the deal, but, more importantly, it gets access to Leap's spectrum, including its complementary PCS and AWS holdings and an LTE network that covers 21 million people.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/17/2014 | 10:07:08 AM
Re: "Public interest benefits."
Those public interest benefits are sometime more in the minds of the attorney's making clever presentations before the FCC than actual benefits. Only time will tell whethere AT&T's of 21 million customers will ultimately provice some added benefits to the public and customers. The FCC did mandate carrying out the service to value customers and Lifeline subscribers which gives bargain rates to low income folks. Just how many this might serve is open to question.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/14/2014 | 4:55:11 PM
Re: "Public interest benefits."
Faster access to LTE in Cricket's markets, which AT&T pledged to upgrade in the coming weeks. A larger network for AT&T customers and more prepaid choices. Because Cricket was small in size and relatively targeted in certain markets, they didn't see it taking out a competitor as much as, say, Sprint acquiring T-Mobile would be.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/14/2014 | 4:52:01 PM
"Public interest benefits."
Does the FCC say what those "public interest benefits" are?
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/14/2014 | 9:30:03 AM
Done deal
Well, that was quick -- AT&T closed the deal today, less than a day after getting FCC approval. AT&T and Leap's boards actually both approved awhile back.

The "New Cricket" is coming soon, and AT&T says it has big plans to shake up the prepaid market.
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/14/2014 | 8:52:28 AM
Re: M&A in the USA
I agree, it will be interesting to see what happens, the wireless market has always been 'competitive' (from a carrier perspective not necessarily a price and service perspective).  Prepaid still has a lot of potential.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/13/2014 | 6:25:53 PM
M&A in the USA
I don't think T-Mo and Sprint should feel encouraged by this. It's a much different size and scope.

I am interested to see what kind of splash AT&T makes in prepaid now.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Friday, October 21, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Evolving the Data Center
Rasool Kareem Irfan, Head, Telecom & Infrastructure Security Practice, Tata Communications Transformation Services Ltd (TCTS)
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
US Issues Total Flight Ban on Samsung Note 7
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/15/2016
Oh Snap! Qualcomm Unveils X50, Its First 5G Modem
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/17/2016
SDN Champions ONF & ON.Lab Tie the Knot
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/19/2016
Telecom Italia Plots Digital 'Overlay,' Not Transformation
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/17/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.