They want the FCC to stop the process until Verizon Wireless agrees to provide them with unredacted versions of a separate set of commercial agreements that pave the way for Verizon Wireless and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Bright House Networks and Cox Communications Inc. to co-market/bundle each other's mobile and cable services.
The Sprint group argues (PDF) that the heavily redacted disclosures "make it impossible to understand the full ramifications of the documents" or to evaluate their effect on the spectrum deal. They also don't like seeing Verizon Wireless and its MSO partners making "unilateral determinations" on what's relevant.
The MSOs and Verizon Wireless have argued that providing unredacted version of those agreements would put them at a competitive disadvantage, and claim that the co-marketing deals aren't relevant to the spectrum sale and shouldn’t be factored into the review. However, they have agreed to provide all of those details to the Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice on a classified basis in order to keep the review process moving.
Why this matters
If successful, the request will put up a hurdle that could slow down the deal. Verizon Wireless wants the spectrum deal approved rapidly, claiming that it needs cable's AWS spectrum to avoid the Long Term Evolution (LTE) spectrum crunch that it sees rearing its head in some markets by 2013.
For more Catch up on the deal.
- Verizon Fears 4G Spectrum Shortfall
- Battle Lines Form in VZ Wireless-MSO Deals
- Cable-VZ Wireless Deals to Face Senate Grilling
- Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal
- Comcast Subs Get a Taste of Verizon
- DoJ Sniffs Around VZ Wireless-Cable Deals
- VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M
- Verizon Wireless: Cable’s New BFF
- MSOs Sell AWS Spectrum to Verizon for $3.6B
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable