Verizon Wireless, the United States’ largest mobile operator by subscribers, should be prevented from acquiring dormant wireless spectrum from a consortium of US cablecos in order to avoid ‘excessive concentration’ of spectrum, rival cellco T-Mobile USA has warned. According to Bloomberg T-Mobile submitted a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggesting that the multi-billion dollar deal agreed in December 2011 will ‘pose a clear threat to competition’. Another operator to publicly oppose the deal MetroPCS Communications, which currently offers wireless service in a number of areas where Verizon proposes to add spectrum; the Texas-based cellco urged the FCC to deny the deal on the grounds that Verizon’s application lacks ‘certain critical information’. However, Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden, told Bloomberg: ‘The spectrum purchase is in the public interest, and will address the needs of all consumers, putting spectrum to work to meet growing demand’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December 2011 Verizon announced that it had acquired a total of 122 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licences, covering around 259 million people, from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Bright House Networks. The deal is valued at USD3.6 billion, with Comcast – which owns 63.6% of the JV – earning approximately USD2.3 billion. SpectrumCo’s sale, and the transfer of its AWS licences to Verizon, is subject to approval by the FCC and other customary conditions.