Verizon's trying to buy $3.6b worth of spectrum from the Comcast / Time Warner / Bright House partnership known as SpectrumCo, and the companies plan to offer each other's services. The deal has drawn attention from the FCC, and we're tracking it all right here.
Oct 17, 2013
Alongside Verizon's purchase of valuable spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and a few other cable providers, the companies also entered into a sales and innovation "joint venture." In addition to sales partnerships (like Verizon selling Comcast services at its stores and Comcast bunding Verizon Wireless products), the companies also put together an "innovation technology joint venture for the development of technology to better integrate wireline and wireless products and services." It was a potentially interesting partnership, but now at least one aspect of it has been dissolved. CFO Fran Shammo said today on Verizon's Q3 earnings call that "the marketing joint venture or co-development [with the cable companies] has been terminated and we are moving in our separate ways on that."Read Article >
However, and perhaps more importantly, Verizon's sales partnership with the cable companies will continue on. A Verizon spokesperson told us that "the commercial agreements with the cable companies remain in place. The companies will continue to offer each other's products and services in various distribution channels." Shammo hinted at this on the earnings call, saying "we still have a distribution agreement with one another and we continue to work with one another to sell each other's products." It's an agreement that raised some antitrust concerns, but apparently the partnership will continue unabated for now. There was also a lot of speculation that such a partnership would disincentivize Verizon from expanding FiOS coverage — something that's been an ongoing concern for a lot of would-be customers.
Oct 16, 2013
Verizon is finally starting to take advantage of the all AWS spectrum it acquired in a controversial deal with cable providers. GigaOm reports that, at least in New York City, the carrier has quietly flipped the switch and enabled LTE signals on the 2.1 GHz AWS band. Thanks to the beefed-up network, one user — who happened to be carrying a spectrum analyzer — saw download speeds that topped out at 80Mbps on an iPhone 5S. Those data transfer rates are unlikely to remain so high once more smartphones and tablets hop on to the AWS band (and there are already plenty of compatible devices in Verizon's lineup).Read Article >
But the added network resources will no doubt help Verizon in its never-ending public relations battle with AT&T. While Verizon can lay claim to the nation's largest LTE network, the two rivals have fiercely contested over which company offers the best connection speeds and overall reliability. Similar reports have claimed that Verizon has also enabled AWS in Chicago and Los Angeles, so it seems the company plans to first leverage its added spectrum in metropolitan hubs where its current infrastructure has become somewhat strained. Of course, the wireless spectrum crunch isn't a new challenge; it's a problem that every major wireless carrier is seeking temporary solutions for.
Aug 23, 2012
Following the Department of Justice's lead last week, the FCC has now approved Verizon's acquisition of a large swath of AWS spectrum from a consortium of cable companies operating as SpectrumCo that includes Comcast and Time Warner. As with the DoJ, the FCC's approval specifies "a number of binding commitments and conditions" including a spectrum swap of certain licenses between Verizon and Leap (better known in the market as Cricket) and a transfer of certain AWS holdings to T-Mobile upon completion of the purchase. In fact, the Commission says in its final report that the approval was based largely on "unprecedented divestiture of spectrum to a competitor, T-Mobile."Read Article >
Details of the approval also reveal that the FCC is requiring Verizon to utilize at least 30 percent of the acquired AWS spectrum (by population) within three years and 70 percent within seven years. The most controversial portion of the deal, though, are the associated commercial agreements that allow cable companies involved in the sale to cross-market services with Verizon, an agreement that had regulators concerned about a reduction in landline broadband competition in some markets — to that end, the FCC's requiring semi-annual reports on "trends in DSL subscribership," while the DoJ had already stipulated that no tie-ups could proceed in established FiOS markets.
Aug 16, 2012
The US Department of Justice has signed off on a major $3.6 billion deal between Verizon Wireless and several cable companies that will see America's largest carrier gain valuable new spectrum, according to Bloomberg. Final approval of the controversial agreement will rest with the FCC, which is expected to give the go-ahead in the near future. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowksi issued a statement in support of the agreement today, revealing that his agency is currently circulating a draft order that will make things official.Read Article >
The original proposal faced heavy scrutiny from regulators who raised competition concerns over aspects of the sale that would enable Verizon and cable heavyweights like Comcast and Time Warner to cross-sell each other's services.
Aug 14, 2012
The US Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are set to approve a spectrum deal between Verizon and several cable companies, The Wall Street Journal reports, but a few compromises were made in the negotiations. Anonymous agency officials say that the deal could be approved in the next few weeks, allowing Verizon to purchase spectrum from companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable and collaborate for limited cross-selling, a controversial provision that would allow one company to sell services from another.Read Article >
As we've heard before, federal agencies are trying to limit the impact this could have on competition and total coverage. The companies are expected to only cross-sell in areas where one offers services another doesn't — for instance, Verizon wouldn't be able to sell Comcast's Xfinity service in places it already offered FiOS. However, according to the Journal, Verizon can sell it in areas where it offers internet service but not the faster FiOS. For anyone who was hoping for more high-speed internet options, this isn't great, since it reduces Verizon's incentive to compete with Comcast or others. But Verizon apparently won this right by arguing that it wasn't going to expand its FiOS network anyways. Additionally, these deals can reportedly only last for five years, after which companies will have to apply again for antitrust clearance.
Aug 3, 2012
Regulators expected to approve spectrum deal between Verizon and cable companies, demand significant concessions
According to Reuters, the FCC and Department of Justice are poised to approve Verizon's purchase of spectrum from a variety of cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner Cable. However, the government is expected to heavily modify the cross marketing portions of the original proposal due to mounting antitrust concerns. Verizon and Comcast will be forbidden from pushing the other's services in all FiOS markets, and will only be permitted to do so for a limited timeframe in other regions.Read Article >
Citing three unnamed sources, Reuters describes the ongoing negotiations as "bruising," though it seems Verizon should ultimately come away rather pleased with the rumored terms. Regulators are expected to approve the spectrum aspect of the deal with few adjustments — a major victory for the number one carrier in the US. Having already taken a substantial lead in the 4G LTE deployment race, the additional spectrum will be a welcome luxury for Verizon, and likely a source of frustration for its competitors — T-Mobile notwithstanding. Then again, AT&T has already expressed interest in scooping up the 700MHz spectrum Verizon will be giving up if the purchase is approved. Still, considering the scope of this arrangement, it seems some serious concerns will persist no matter the final outcome.
Jul 13, 2012
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that while the FCC is "essentially prepared to sign off" on Verizon Wireless’s $3.9 billion deal to acquire AWS spectrum for LTE devices from a consortium of cable companies, Justice Department officials are still worried about the deal’s antitrust implications. The office’s major concern is cross-selling — Verizon’s re-selling of cable service from Comcast or Time Warner, and vice versa — which it thinks could inhibit competition in the broadband internet market, and leave many customers without coverage.Read Article >
So far, the cross-selling is only happening where Verizon’s own FiOS service is unavailable, and the concern is that there’s an implicit agreement between the companies not to move in on one another’s turf. This kind of agreement would limit consumer choice and competition in the marketplace, and so the DOJ is pushing for changes that would address these concerns before it gives the deal the go-ahead. The deal has faced intense scrutiny in the months since its announcement, most recently from the 32 House Democrats who sent a letter to the DOJ and FCC last week, stressing that the deal appears to "limit the availability of competitive services in video, broadband, voice, and wireless markets."
Jul 9, 2012
Verizon's controversial spectrum purchase from cable companies nearing FCC approval, Reuters reports
Reuters is reporting this afternoon that the FCC is close to approving Verizon's planned acquisition of AWS spectrum from a consortium of cable companies — most notably Comcast and Time Warner — that it would use to deploy additional LTE coverage beyond the 700MHz footprint that it uses today. The deal has been under intense scrutiny by Congress and from other wireless providers over the last several months, arguing that other carriers like T-Mobile would be able to make better use of the spectrum in question and that related deals that allow the cable companies to sell cable service in Verizon stores and vice versa put an unhealthy cap on competition in affected markets.Read Article >
T-Mobile has backed off in recent days on news that it would get a chunk of the AWS spectrum that Verizon is planning to purchase, but Reuters says this isn't a done deal: though the FCC is on board, the Department of Justice is still reviewing the associated cross-marketing deals and it won't have a decision until August. A group of 32 House democrats just submitted a letter to both the DoJ and FCC expressing concerns that any such deal would reduce the number of broadband choices customers have in markets where both Verizon and SpectrumCo members do business, so Washington still has this transaction squarely under the microscope.
Jun 12, 2012
Speaking at a conference this week, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson indicated strong interest in the 700MHz spectrum that Verizon has offered to sell on the condition that it be allowed to buy SpectrumCo's AWS holdings — a controversial purchase that's been questioned by the FCC, Congress, and other carriers in recent weeks. He said that the offering "pairs perfectly" with AT&T's own spectrum and that it could "be up and running and hot" inside of 60 days of sale, which is just about as close to a stamp of approval on a competitor's strategic move as you're going to get. Of course, it stands to reason that a lack of government intervention on Verizon's part sets an important precedent for AT&T's strategic maneuvers and vice versa, which also explains why Verizon was largely silent throughout AT&T's attempted purchase of T-Mobile USA last year.Read Article >
Whether the feds ultimately approve the SpectrumCo transaction remains unclear, but if Stephenson's words have any effect on their decision whatsoever, it seems obvious that AT&T should be held accountable for placing a bid and utilizing the spectrum within the time frame he suggests — especially since he's suggested the same.
May 25, 2012
The US Federal Communications Commission is still quizzing Verizon on its recent proposal to buy spectrum from cable companies, and now at least one member of Congress has raised concerns as well. Senator Herb Kohl has written to both the FCC and the Department of Justice, urging them to examine the "serious competition concerns" implicit in the deal, which would allow Verizon to purchase $3.6 billion worth of spectrum from the Comcast / Time Warner / Bright House partnership known as SpectrumCo.Read Article >
Although Kohl is not unconditionally against approving the deal, he urges regulators to make Verizon sell off spectrum in order to reduce its dominance in some locations. He also worries that Verizon's agreement with cable companies will reduce its incentive to offer competing services like TV over FiOS. "There is a real concern these agreements transform Verizon and the cable companies from fierce competitors into business partners because they lessen the incentive for Verizon and cable companies to compete aggressively against the other, particularly in the markets where Verizon has deployed FiOS." Verizon and cable companies have already announced that they will be selling each other's services, but the FCC and DoJ not yet made a decision on whether its spectrum purchase will go forward.
May 15, 2012
The FCC has formally asked Verizon a series of questions today regarding its proposed sale of A and B Block 700MHz spectrum — spectrum that it has only agreed to sell if it's allowed to buy controversial AWS spectrum from the so-called SpectrumCo consortium of cable companies. The SpectrumCo deal has generated enormous buzz both from smaller wireless companies and the government because it's in a frequency that T-Mobile could use (which, by all appearances, is more spectrum-constrained than Verizon is) and because it involves a number of co-branding agreements with Comcast and others that could ultimately limit competition both in television and broadband offerings in many markets.Read Article >
Verizon's offer has already raised eyebrows in private industry because it covers blocks of the 700MHz band that are currently incompatible with 700MHz handsets from both Verizon and AT&T. Those companies have long claimed that requiring interoperability would raise serious technical challenges, but smaller carriers — rural networks in particular — have demanded it, saying that they're unable to wield enough purchasing power on their own to launch competitive handsets without piggybacking on hardware commissioned by the larger players. The FCC has recently agreed to look into it, but hasn't issued a ruling.
May 14, 2012
Taking up Verizon's attempted purchase of SpectrumCo's AWS spectrum as its headline issue, a number of carriers, businesses, and nonprofits have collaborated to launch the so-called Alliance for Broadband Competition today. Notably, both Sprint and T-Mobile USA are members of the Alliance — the third- and fourth-largest US nationals, both of which have raised vocal objections to recent industry moves — along with the Rural Cellular Association, which had emerged in recent months as a catch-all organization for companies opposing maneuvers on the parts of Verizon and AT&T.Read Article >
Ultimately, the initial comments from the Alliance today closely follow filings and testimony that have already been made before the FCC and Congress, and it appears that the organization will be serving primarily as a PR clearinghouse for its members' common policy goals. It may also allow the RCA to return to its proper roots — as a trade organization for rural carriers, not simply as a bandwagon for the anti-duopoly message.
May 1, 2012
The companies looking to make the spectrum deal have apparently wised up to the fact that it won't be rubber-stamped. They have "committed to go beyond the requirements of the Commission's orders in this matter by taking additional steps to facilitate third-party review of the record materials," which translates into providing their documents in a searchable electronic form. Add it all up and the FCC says it needs an additional 21 days to review everything before making a decision on the deal.Read Article >
Although it's not necessarily an indication of how the FCC will rule, it's another sign that the FCC seems to be taking its responsibilities to shepherd the use of spectrum more carefully. After seeing AT&T's attempted buyout of T-Mobile fall apart, it's no surprise that Verizon and SpectrumCo appear taking this process a bit more seriously now.
Apr 30, 2012
The somewhat convoluted, definitely contentious, and perhaps slightly conflicted relationship between Verizon Wireless and the cable companies that make up SpectrumCo continues today, as both Comcast and Verizon have announced that they will be selling each other's services through their individual sales channels in more markets. Customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, MO., Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City will now be able to purchase Comcast Xfinity services at Verizon stores while Comcast customers will be able to set up Verizon services directly from Comcast. In both cases, customers will still be dealing with separate accounts and bills, but the two companies will be offering Verizon "Double Data" deals and prepaid Visa cards good for up to $200, a deal not dissimilar to what Verizon had set up with Time Warner.Read Article >
The expanded partnership probably isn't enough to change the fundamental questions surrounding the SpectrumCo spectrum sale that the FCC and DOJ are investigating, but it does seem that none of the companies involved feel the need to be timid about their new partnership.
Apr 27, 2012
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."Read Article >
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.
Apr 24, 2012
T-Mobile: Verizon doesn't need AWS spectrum it's trying to buy, because it hasn't used the AWS spectrum it already owns
Virtually any spectrum purchase undertaken by the two largest incumbent carriers in the US is going to be met with anticompetitive skepticism. Verizon's attempted purchase of a block of AWS bandwidth from cable consortium SpectrumCo is no exception — not only have T-Mobile (which relies almost exclusively on AWS for its present-day 3G footprint) and other members of the Rural Cellular Association approached the deal with strong objection, but both the FCC and Congress have raised concerns as well. Needless to say, the deal is far from closed.Read Article >
The latest maneuver comes from T-Mobile, which pointed out in a meeting last week with Rick Kaplan — head of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau —that Verizon already owns AWS spectrum that it has never used since acquiring it several years ago. By all appearances, it's an attempt to undermine the company's talking point that it uses spectrum more efficiently than any other tier-one carrier in the country, and T-Mobile execs are bolstering their argument by pointing out that they'd make sure SpectrumCo's licenses were put to good use "immediately."
Apr 18, 2012
Verizon to sell unused 700MHz licenses if allowed to buy controversial spectrum from cable companies
Verizon has announced today that it'll "conduct an open sale process" for its 700MHz spectrum licenses in the so-called A and B blocks, licenses that it doesn't currently use to support its ongoing LTE rollout. There's a catch, though: the offering is contingent on government approval of the carrier's controversial acquisition of $3.6 billion worth of AWS spectrum (the same band used by T-Mobile) from a consortium of cable companies, a deal that has been met by considerable resistance from smaller carriers and has been called into question by both Congress and the FCC.Read Article >
In other words, Verizon's offer is a carrot that it's dangling in front of the government. It's easy to see why Verizon would consider this trade: the A and B blocks of the 700MHz spectrum are not interoperable with the C block using existing LTE devices. Requiring interoperability between these blocks has long been a talking point for rural carriers, many of whom own A and B block licenses — they argue that they don't have the size or finances to commission competitive hardware from OEMs on their own, so only by piggybacking off orders from giants like AT&T and Verizon can they effectively deploy LTE to their small customer bases. AT&T and Verizon, meanwhile, have countered that there are technical challenges to requiring that interoperability. It's a big enough issue so that the FCC has taken it up, but in the meantime, Verizon would need its devices to be interoperable across the A, B, and C blocks if it were to make use of all its 700MHz licenses — a win for the rural carriers, and a potential source of competition for Verizon.
Apr 12, 2012
Verizon and Time Warner promised that they would start cross-selling services this year after their historic (and controversial) spectrum-swap deal was announced, and things are kicking off today: Verizon and Time Warner stores in Kansas City (Kansas), Toledo and Columbus (Ohio), and Raleigh (North Carolina) will now offer products and services from the other company in package deals. There's no direct integration beyond just cross-selling, though: you'll still get different bills from each company, and it's not clear if there's any notable per-month savings over buying things separately. That said, customers who do sign up for a package will receive a $200 rebate in the form of a debit card, so it's not a bad deal if you already have both services going and want to consolidate.Read Article >
Verizon and Time Warner say the bundled deals will roll out to more communities over the coming months, so we'll keep an eye on that — as well as how the FCC and DOJ perceive this latest move as they continue to investigate the deal.
Mar 30, 2012
Verizon is very keen on getting public support for its proposed $3.6 billion purchase of wireless spectrum from Comcast, Bright House and Time Warner Cable, and today CEO Lowell McAdam is suggesting to that same public that a mobile television service could help sweeten the deal. He told The Wall Street Journal that if the purchase is approved, the cable operators could team up with Verizon to provide an "integrated" mobile TV deal "in time for the holidays." What's more, McAdam told the Journal that this particular arrangement might open up an option that cable customers have been requesting for a long time: the ability to pick and choose which channels they want with a la carte pricing.Read Article >
"Most content providers realize that the number of channels and the layout that you have within your home may not be appropriate for the mobile environment, and those discussions are just beginning now," Mr. McAdam said. Some content providers, he said, "have come to us and have said, 'We are willing to do an à la carte approach here.'"The deal is currently under scrutiny from the Department of Justice for anti-competitive reasons, but McAdam's ideas could open up an entirely new field of debate: he also told the Journal that Verizon is looking to make video streamed this way not count against a customer's mobile data cap. Like Comcast's Xbox 360 video service, that could fly in the face of net neutrality efforts. Here, McAdam suggests that Verizon could bill content providers for the data instead, but that would still mean that an entire category of data wouldn't be treated equally to the rest. Verizon isn't the only company pushing for this idea, either: Netflix has publicly declared that it will become part of just such a service, and is hoping for the same kind of cap-free treatment on its carrier network. With net neutrality, spectrum concerns and industry consolidation bumping heads, it feels like something's gotta give.
Mar 23, 2012
A day after Verizon general counsel Randal Milch testified before a Senate committee defending the company's proposed acquisition of AWS spectrum from a joint venture of several cable companies, the company has taken its case directly to the public with a new post on its Policy Blog. The Judiciary Committee is actively looking at the implications both of the spectrum deal (at a time when many carriers, big and small, are looking for spectrum wherever they can find it) and also of a number of associated cross-marketing deals, which have cable companies like Comcast hawking Verizon services in stores and vice versa — a move that both Congress and the FCC are concerned may limit both wireless and wireline competition, and may violate the Telecommunications Act of 1996 along the way.Read Article >
The company's new blog post is essentially a boiled-down, human-readable version of arguments that it has already submitted to the government in recent weeks: that demand for wireless data is growing rapidly, Verizon uses its existing inventory of spectrum more efficiently than any other American carrier, and that cable competition won't be reduced by the cross-marketing agreement because the company has no intention to offer FiOS service in areas of the country where it would partner with existing cable companies. "There is no way that we'd undermine such a significant investment and successful product" as FiOS, it says.
Mar 21, 2012
Verizon defends its Comcast deal before Congress, says there's 'no other place to go to buy spectrum'
Scrutiny has mounted in recent months over Verizon's deal to purchase $3.6 billion of spectrum from SpectrumCo — a joint venture of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House — and today at 2PM EST the US Congress' Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from Verizon about the deal. In its testimony today, Verizon plans to argue that its deal will not harm consumers, and it claims that "no customer will see fewer choices or increased prices as a result." The deal includes agreements that will allow the companies to sell Verizon's wireless service directly and to offer service using wholesale Verizon spectrum if they so choose, and that will allow Verizon to offer cable services. Verizon argues that it faces a spectrum crunch by 2014, that it uses spectrum twice as efficiently as T-Mobile, and that aside from this deal, "there's currently no other place to go to buy spectrum." But critics of the deal dismiss Verizon's consumer benefit claims.Read Article >
Opponents of the deal argue that the mobile broadband market is converging on a duopoly, and point to Verizon and AT&T's profit share and pricing. Policy group Free Press plans to testify against Verizon, claiming that the deal will "divide the market for at-home wireline broadband," and allow Verizon Wireless with the ability to "stave off any serious competition threat in the wireless marketplace." Steven Berry, President of RCA, is set to testify today that "from a wireless industry perspective, Verizon Wireless will continue to grow stronger, the viability of competitors will be further stressed, and four potential new entrants will be eliminated as the march to duopoly continues." Berry argues that "these deals must be conditioned, or they must be stopped" -- otherwise, he says, "new regulations to artificially create the benefits of market competition will be required."
Mar 8, 2012
The FCC threw a kink in Verizon's plans today to acquire a large chunk of AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo, a joint venture of several cable companies, asking the carrier for uncensored versions of heavily-redacted documents it filed several days ago in support of the transaction. Specifically, the feds are asking for unredacted sections pertaining to agreements that would allow Verizon and the associated cable companies to resell each others' services, the spectrum purchase agreement itself, and related documents.Read Article >
Sprint, T-Mobile, and others have voiced their displeasure with the proposed transaction, saying that it would give Verizon too much bandwidth — of course, T-Mobile has recently argued that it needs additional spectrum to complete a full LTE build-out, so the business justification for T-Mobile's opposition is pretty clear. The FCC has revised the filing deadline for comments to March 26th, so it looks like we may not know until April (at the earliest) whether Verizon's going to be able to add a stable of AWS licenses to its 4G portfolio.
Mar 6, 2012
The nation's top two carriers — Verizon and AT&T — are keen to remind federal regulators of their spectrum constraints at every opportunity. To that end, Verizon took to a joint filing to the FCC with SpectrumCo last Friday in defense of their proposed sale of AWS spectrum, a transaction that T-Mobile has publicly opposed. In the filing, Verizon goes over why and how its existing 700MHz LTE deployment will be out of breathing room "in some areas" by next year with wider-scale exhaustion by 2015; it says that it'll be able to alleviate a bit of the strain through future LTE femtocell rollouts and "piecemeal" refarming of existing CDMA 1x spectrum, but that neither technique will be sufficient to meet the need.Read Article >
As with many FCC filings, Verizon's is of limited use to the public because much of it is redacted — hard numbers about the carrier's existing deployment and plans for expansion are intentionally left out, which makes it unclear just how the 2013 timeline is being arrived upon. Also unclear is why Verizon continues to offer a double data promotion on 4G data plans when it allegedly knows of an impending exhaustion. Of course, Verizon intends to use these AWS acquisitions for LTE deployment — hence the doomsday language in the filing — but T-Mobile has already made clear that it won't let the deal slide past regulatory approval without a challenge.
Feb 24, 2012
T-Mobile has issued an FCC filing opposing Verizon's plans to purchase additional spectrum licenses in the AWS band from cable companies, saying that Verizon is mainly doing this to keep the licenses away from smaller companies such as itself. T-Mobile also said that it would use the additional spectrum "more quickly, more intensively, and more efficiently than Verizon Wireless" — a statement that Verizon seems to have some issues with.Read Article >
In a post on Verizon's policy blog, Charla Rath, VP of wireless policy development, explained that Verizon is actually twice as efficient with its spectrum than T-Mobile. According to Rath, while Verizon serves 109 million customer connections with an average of 88 MHz, T-Mobile's 33 million connections are served with just 50 MHz, which means that Verizon serves 1.2 million customers per megahertz compared to 660,000 for T-Mobile.
Feb 22, 2012
T-Mobile has asked the FCC to block Verizon's purchase of spectrum from SpectrumCo — an alliance between Comcast, Time Warner, and Bright House to sell off unused spectrum allocation in the AWS band. In an FCC filing, T-Mobile states that the deal would give Verizon control over an "excessive concentration" of wireless spectrum. Verizon's deal would see it acquire licenses for the AWS band in a number of areas for use in its LTE rollout. Verizon is yet to comment on the matter.Read Article >
Somewhat ironically, T-Mobile's move reminds us of Sprint's loud, repeated objections to AT&T's proposed acquisition of the number four carrier throughout much of 2011 — and in the absence of that deal, most (if not all) of Sprint's concerns now fall on T-Mobile's shoulders as well.