Verizon enlists Loop to manage sale of 700MHz spectrum; FCC questions cellco’s behaviour

23 May 2012

US mobile giant Verizon Wireless has confirmed that it has hired investment bank Loop Capital Markets to help it manage the proposed sale of its 700MHz Lower A and B Block licences. Verizon has provisionally agreed to sell the 700MHz spectrum if it receives regulatory approval for its USD3.9 billion purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between cablecos Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Loop Capital will work with Stephens Inc to assist in the sale. Verizon has said that the two companies ‘will reach out to a wide range of potential bidders, including minority-owned and female-owned businesses’.

However, the sale is unlikely to run smoothly, with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) keeping a close eye on proceedings. Fierce Wireless reports that last week, in a letter to John Scott, Verizon Wireless’ general counsel, Rick Kaplan, the chief of the FCC’s wireless bureau, asked a number of pointed questions regarding Verizon’s decision to relinquish the 700MHz spectrum it spent billions of dollars on in 2008. Kaplan noted that Verizon’s Lower A and B Block licences have rollout requirements that mandate coverage to 35% of the licensed geographic areas by mid-2013, and queried: ‘What steps to date, if any, has Verizon Wireless taken to deploy mobile services using the Lower 700MHz A of B block licences? On what timetable has Verizon Wireless been planning to deploy mobile service in these Lower 700MHz blocks?’ TeleGeography notes that Verizon’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, which uses 700MHz Upper C Block spectrum, already covers two-thirds of the US population.