Rivals Try to Freeze Verizon-MSO Spectrum Buy

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), T-Mobile US Inc. and DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) are part of a group urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop the informal 180-day "shot clock" on its review of Verizon Wireless 's proposed deal to buy Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum from four cable operators for $3.9 billion.

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.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:40:25 PM
re: Rivals Try to Freeze Verizon-MSO Spectrum Buy

My guess from reading the filing is that Verizon doesn't:


1. Want to reveal which cities it will experience the LTE constraints in first.

2. Give away too much about how, where and when it will start to layer in AWS (1700/2100MHz) spectrum on its current 700MHz service.


Just a hunch,


cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:40:19 PM
re: Rivals Try to Freeze Verizon-MSO Spectrum Buy

I'm wondering if and when the Republicans stop beating themselves up and start going after the Dems fulltime, whether the FCC isn't going to become their poster child for government interference impacting private enterprise.

I could certainly see AT&T and Verizon lining up behind such an effort.

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