The US Department of Justice (DoJ) yesterday gave anti-trust clearance to a USD3.9 billion deal under which Verizon Wireless has agreed to acquire wireless frequencies from several cablecos including Comcast, on the condition that the companies involved change their marketing agreements for selling each other’s services, reports Dow Jones Newswires. Verizon has agreed to buy spectrum which was purchased by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications in a 2006 auction. The DoJ has ordered all operators involved in the deal to limit the scope and duration of joint marketing agreements which it said would lessen their incentives to compete in areas where Verizon’s FiOS broadband services offer an alternative to the cablecos’ TV and internet products. The DoJ also granted clearance to a contingent agreement under which Verizon will sell spectrum to T-Mobile USA.
The deal now awaits final clearance from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which looks to be almost certain. The telecoms regulator’s chairman, Julius Genachowski gave a statement yesterday saying: ‘I believe the commission should now approve this transaction, and I will be circulating a draft order to my colleagues that would do so.’