VZ Wireless, Cable Guys Fight for Spectrum Deal

The ping-pong match that is the proposed Verizon Wireless -cable spectrum deal kicks off today's industry roundup.

  • Verizon Wireless and its new cable pals played their latest card at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , telling the Commission that it should not treat the proposed Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum deal as a merger. "These assignments are not mergers," they argued, in their latest effort to play up the pro-consumer angle of the agreements. Verizon Wireless, they added, "is not buying customer relationships. The license assignments will not eliminate competitors." Verizon Wireless also scoffed at the notion that it's hoarding spectrum, noting that the carrier's network-planning process shows a "clear need" for more spectrum rights to supplement macro-cell splitting, micro cells and tiered pricing. "Long-term spectrum planning is not evidence of warehousing," the Verizon/cable group said, noting that the wireless carrier has tried to swap or sell spectrum that it doesn't need, but only if the AWS deals are approved. (See Verizon Will Sell Spectrum If It Seals AWS Deals and MSOs Sell AWS Spectrum to Verizon for $3.6B .)

  • That view, of course, contrasts sharply with that of T-Mobile US Inc. , which told the FCC that Verizon Wireless's effort to acquire cable's AWS spectrum "poses grave competitive concerns" because the holdings would give Verizon too much market power. As evidence, T-Mobile presented an analysis that breaks down the spectrum capacity Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) (a measure of market concentration and power) of the top cellular market areas (CMAs) and found that 95 percent of them are considered "highly concentrated" even before the proposed acquisition. The Verizon/cable transactions would increase spectrum HHI by more than 200 points in 596 of the 688 highly concentrated CMAs, and would add 28 more CMAs to the highly concentrated category, T-Mobile claimed.

  • The expansion of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s Xfinity Home service continued this week as the operator launched it in Albuquerque and Sante Fe, N.M., and Washington, D.C. , and Virginia. Comcast expects to have Xfinity Home, a home security and automation service that starts at $29.95 per month, deployed in most markets by the end of the year. (See Comcast Goes Big With Xfinity Home .)

  • ESPN3, the broadband-only channel offered to consumers who subscribe to video services from the sports giant's pay-TV partners, is expanding with the launch of espnW, a separately-branded online video channel dedicated to live women's sports events. It's set to launch on Saturday, June 23, the 40th anniversary of Title IX, a law that bans sex discrimination in schools, whether for academics or athletics. Early on, espnW is slated to carry 170 hours of live women's events through July 31.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s next game console, reportedly called the Xbox 720, is expected to include a range of new features, including support for Blu-ray, 1080p video and native 3-D output, and a more accurate Kinect accessory, reports BGR, citing a leaked document that details some elements of the product's roadmap. But some features may be in flux as the device isn't expected out until the 2013 holiday season, and the documents in question happen to be more than a year old.

  • SK Broadband of South Korea joined the IPv6 party after lighting up that capability on the Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) C4 cable modem termination systems (CMTS). The Docsis 3.0 specs require IPv6, but the new addressing scheme is covered in the 8.0 release of Arris's CMTS software. (See IPv6 Hoopla Not Over Yet.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:29:50 PM
    re: VZ Wireless, Cable Guys Fight for Spectrum Deal

    Yep, all depends on if you're the buyer or seller and if you got stung recently when a deal didn't go your way. Not that T-Mobile holds any grudges or anything like that. JB

    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:29:50 PM
    re: VZ Wireless, Cable Guys Fight for Spectrum Deal

    So the VZ/AWS deal raises the HHI by some 200 points in about 90% of concentrated CMAs. But the AT&T/T-Mob deal would have increased concentration by 951 (New York) 1,114 (Chicago) 1366 (Seattle) according to this NYT story last Sept. So yes, it is interesting to see T-Mob now make that case.

    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:29:48 PM
    re: VZ Wireless, Cable Guys Fight for Spectrum Deal

    I recall studying the question of whose ox is being gored back in graduate school. 

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