Wait for It! Verizon 4G Deal Still Needs FCC OK

Verizon Wireless is so close to finishing off its 4G spectrum deal that you can almost sniff the radio waves, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) still has to vote on the deal before it's official.

On Thursday morning, the U.S. Department of Justice approved the spectrum sale with conditions that limit the scope of separate marketing deals that let Verizon Wireless and its cable partners bundle each other's services. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski made public his approval of the deal in a statement, and urged other Commissioners to vote in favor of it as well when the new order, now being circulated at the FCC, comes up for a vote. (See Verizon 4G Spectrum Deal Approval Soon? and Cable OK to Attack FiOS With Verizon Wireless.)

On a follow-up call Thursday, FCC officials, however, would not say when that vote will happen. There could still be more work to be done on the terms of the deal because the four remaining votes carry the same weight as the FCC chairman's.

Verizon Wireless and its cable buddies announced the initial $3.6 billion Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) deal in December 2011. FCC officials described the deal as one of the most complex spectrum agreements ever approached in the U.S.

If -- or, as seems more likely, when -- the deal gets finalized, Verizon will have more 4G spectrum at 1700MHz and 2100MHz to deploy across the U.S. However, the operator's existing devices won't be able to move onto the new spectrum because they use a swathe of 700MHz radio waves.

Light Reading has covered the spectrum deal since it was first proposed: — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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