AT&T: ‘DoJ favours T-Mobile, Sprint for 600MHz auction’

29 Apr 2013

AT&T Mobility has accused the US Department of Justice (DoJ) of attempting to manipulate the upcoming 600MHz incentive auction to ensure that the two smaller nationwide carriers – Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA – win most of the available spectrum on offer. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AT&T said that the DoJ’s suggestion that AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless would be bidding on the low-frequency spectrum merely to ‘foreclose’ access to it is inaccurate, adding that the DoJ’s intervention on the behalf of Sprint and T-Mobile is unlawful and potentially puts the auction in jeopardy. Fierce Wireless quotes Wayne Watts, AT&T’s senior executive vice president and general counsel, as saying: ‘It is surprising that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice would even propose measures that are so nakedly designed to help specific companies’.

In a filing earlier this month, the DoJ asked the FCC to develop auction rules designed to promote competition with a view to ensuring that Verizon and AT&T do not shut out smaller carriers; the 600MHz auction is expected to be held in 2014 or later.