Debate over Verizon's proposed acquisition of AWS spectrum from cable company joint venture SpectrumCo continues to rage unabated in Washington, and the company has now issued a scathing rebuke of T-Mobile's objections last week. In that prior filing, T-Mobile had argued that Verizon wasn't even using the AWS spectrum it already owns, so there's no compelling reason for it to be allowed to acquire additional licenses in that band — licenses that T-Mobile itself could use in advancement of its LTE strategy. Now, Verizon and SpectrumCo are reminding the FCC that "T-Mobile's recent arguments to the Commission contradict statements it made only months ago during its own proposed transaction with AT&T and should be given no credence."
T-Mobile's needs as the fourth-largest carrier in the US are very different than its needs as a collection of AT&T assets
The carrier and cable consortium touch on a variety of points where T-Mobile has seemingly switched sides since its deal to be acquired by AT&T fell through, ranging from concerns over so-called spectrum warehousing (buying spectrum licenses then not using them) to loss of competition resulting from consolidation. Of course, Verizon's intentions are very clear — to discredit T-Mobile's current objections by arguing that it has waffled on key issues — but in doing so, it references joint AT&T / T-Mobile filings in several places that were clearly written from the points of view of the buyer and seller, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, not from T-Mobile USA's perspective. In other words, T-Mobile's needs as the fourth-largest carrier in the US are very different than its needs as a collection of AT&T assets, and Verizon's latest joint filing seems to willfully ignores that.
Will the FCC buy into the argument? If the failure of the AT&T deal is any indication, perhaps not — but the fight over SpectrumCo's fate has a long way to go.