The Federal Communications Commission will be reviewing the way it screens potential wireless mergers and spectrum purchases, and is considering whether to adopt a single set of criteria that could be applied universally — a move that could benefit companies like AT&T that have been shut out of acquisitions in the past. As The Hill reports, the FCC currently evaluates potential spectrum acquisitions and mergers on a case-by-case basis, and applies rules that are unique in each evaluation.
Both small and larger companies are in support of the standardized model. AT&T previously blamed the FCC's spectrum screen for its failed attempt at acquiring T-Mobile, a deal that may have differed had there been standard guidelines. Sprint also feels that the new method could even out the playing field for the smaller players, and a lawyer with interest-group Public Knowledge believes the change could help ensure that AT&T and Verizon don't acquire too much precious spectrum. For now, it's just talk: the FCC wants public comment on the guidelines, but there's no guarantee that the current spectrum screening process will be changed.