Cable-VZ Wireless Deals to Face Senate Grilling

A hearing on cable's co-marketing deals and AWS spectrum sales to Verizon Wireless is said to be on its way

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

February 1, 2012

2 Min Read
Cable-VZ Wireless Deals to Face Senate Grilling

A bit more heat will soon be applied to a string of recent bundling and spectrum deals between Verizon Wireless and some of the nation's biggest cable operators.

Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who also serves as chairman of the Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights subcommittee, announced Wednesday that plans for a hearing about the agreements between Verizon Wireless and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), are "well underway." Cox Communications Inc. has more recently joined in on a multifaceted deal that calls for the cable operators and the mobile carrier to bundle and promote their respective services and, separately, to sell their Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses to Verizon Wireless for a combined $4 billion.

Comcast and Verizon Wireless have the co-marketing piece of it up and running in three markets. Further down the road, the MSOs have an option to resell Verizon Wireless services under their own brands. (See Comcast, VZ Wireless Bundle Up in the Bay .)

Kohl did not set a specific date for the hearing, but it will likely take place sometime after Feb. 23, which ends the Presidents' Day recess, reports The Washington Post.

Why this matters
The specter of a Senate hearing isn't a huge surprise, but the line of folks wanting to examine the competitive impact of the deals continues to lengthen. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's comment cycle is underway, with petitions to deny due Feb. 21, and oppositions due March 2. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is also probing the deal.

The MSOs involved in the deal have already agreed to provide the FCC with confidential details about the service-bundling component in order to keep the Commission's review on task. They insist, however, that the information they share in that part of the deal should have no bearing on the agency's review of the AWS spectrum sale.

For more
Read up on the deal.

  • 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

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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