Video services

Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal

The MSOs involved in a multifaceted deal with Verizon Wireless have grudgingly agreed to provide the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with more details about the service-bundling element of the agreement, but insist that the information should have no bearing on the agency's review of the sale of spectrum to the mobile carrier.

But don't get too excited about this disclosure; it will be provided under separate cover for the FCC's eyes only and designated as "highly confidential."

That more limited reveal is sure to chap the hide of some of their respective competitors. A group led by Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and T-Mobile US Inc. wants to peek under the covers and has urged the FCC to seek and disclose those details as the Commission gets ready to review Verizon Wireless's proposed purchase of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Bright House Networks , Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Cox Communications Inc. for almost $4 billion. (See Comcast: We Had AWS Plans, Honest!, VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M and MSOs Sell AWS Spectrum to Verizon for $3.6B .)

The Sprint-DirecTV side claims they'll need that information as they get ready to file comments for the FCC's review of the spectrum transaction. According to the pleading cycle established by the FCC on Thursday, petitions to deny are due Feb. 21, with oppositions due March 2.

But the Verizon Wireless-cable side is reluctant to show the finer points of their bundling deals out in the open. In a filing to the FCC on Wednesday, they agreed to provide the FCC, on a classified basis, details of the co-marketing deal, which lets the MSOs and Verizon Wireless bundle and sell each other's services. The MSOs also have an option to sell Verizon Wireless services under their own brands later on.

But they agreed to give the FCC a closer look only to "avoid undue delay" in the agency's review of the spectrum deal, holding that the service marketing component isn't really relevant to it.

"[T]he proposed spectrum license sale and the Commercial Agreements are not contingent upon each other. Nothing in the Commercial Agreements requires approval of the spectrum license transaction, or vice versa," the filing stated.

Verizon Wireless and Comcast have already turned that opinion into action. On Tuesday, Comcast and Verizon Wirless began to promote and bundle each other's services in two markets: Seattle and Portland, Ore. (See Comcast Subs Get a Taste of Verizon.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

steve q 12/5/2012 | 5:44:59 PM
re: Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal

I just have  a ? what will this deal do to the people of verizon corp and it Fois build out. Will the wireless just stop the building of the fios and hope for the wireless to save the day.  And the deal  give comcast the opening they where looking for and make verizon Fois have to let the cable company into our network like the copper side had to do b4 the fois started.

joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:44:58 PM
re: Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal

The most interesting piece of information to emerge this week about Verizon's proposed spectrum purchase and its co-marketing plans with the cable companies is that they are viewed as two separate deals that are not dependent on each other. As we saw in the Northwest earlier this week, Verizon and at least one of the cable companies are moving ahead with the co-marketing deal and such actions don't appear to need any regulatory approvals.

It will be interesting to see if Verizon and the cable companies move ahead with plans to jointly develop new offerings (i.e. integrated video & wireless capabilities) even if the spectrum deal fails to gain approval.

I think Verizon and the cable companies are likely to develop integrated offerings in any case because it seems to be increasingly clear that Verizon wants to minimize its video investment and the cable companies don't want to invest in wireless.




^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 5:44:57 PM
re: Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal

Steve Q.,

In case you haven't noticed, VZ have already some time back stopped any further build out of FIOS.  While I don't have details, I think there were several chats here on LR about this several months back.  I think they are still hooking up subscribers in the areas they have already built out, but I don't think they are doing any further build out (maybe filling in little patches, but not any new areas nor sections to build out).

This was already happening prior to this AWS deal.

Now, do they count on wireless for all high speed access?  (well that is kind of an oxymoron.. even LTE is "high speed" only compared to older wireless networks or compared to dial up or very old long reach dsl maybe.... wireless is still a long way from what I consider REAL high speed, like is delivered over coax cable, or fios, or uverse)

So, does VZ rely on wireless for all high speed?  My best guess is that it will be a place by place combination: Fios where they have it already, dsl in the areas they decide to keep copper plant and not sell it off (they are busy selling lots of it off...), use cable coax to deliver services in areas where they have no dsl and no fios and competitor's areas, and in the really rurual areas... wireless.  So a real hodge podge of location specific different services.

lol, maybe you will see VZ merge with Comcast and other coax based suppliers in a few years.....

Wouldn't that be a hoot?!


steve q 12/5/2012 | 5:44:56 PM
re: Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal

Hi i see your point but with the cable company all ready doing tv do you see verizon stoping it . I have to say this company tell the world that fois was better then cable, But with out fois verizon is deadship and the cable will win,and the wireless is still slower then fois data speed and you do not need anything to push the speed. I guess this company need to have people that know how to win and look back when nynex was the best.

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