& cplSiteName &

FCC Green-Lights AT&T's Leap Buy

Sarah Thomas
3/13/2014
50%
50%

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
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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.
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
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
50%
50%
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.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
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 Interviews
Masergy: It's Time for SD-WAN Options

6|28|17   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Paul Ruelas, director of network products for Masergy, explains how adding SD-WAN has changed the service mix for his company's customers. In some cases, the change is incremental, enabling more granular customer control. Masergy's newest version, SD-WAN Go, gives up some of those controls for a streamlined version targeting mid-sized customers with the most ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Ushers in the Revolutionary 5G Era

6|28|17   |   5:00   |   (1) comment


5G will bring job opportunities for women in telco and IT, as well as a whole new era of communications for consumers and industries of all kinds, says Caroline Chan, vice president and general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division at Intel.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX at ANGA COM

6|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


At ANGA COM 2017, Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX, updates Alan Breznick with VeEX's new products and technology. This includes VeSion cloud-based platform for network monitoring, AT2500-3G advanced spectrum analyzer and MTTplus-900 WiFi Air Expert module. He also comments on DOCSIS 3.1 deployment and Remote PHY technology.
LRTV Custom TV
The Overall Objective Is to Win the Game

6|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


SCTE•ISBE's Chris Bastian discusses Energy 2020's success to date and the importance of a flexible approach that allows for changes in specific strategies in order to reach significant milestones.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Does AT&T Deserve Time Warner?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2017
Hulu Is Greatest Threat to Pay-TV Providers – Study
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 6/27/2017
Calix: Russo's Not-So-Overnight Success?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 6/28/2017
Verizon Takes 'One Fiber' to More Cities
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/22/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.