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FCC may change how it reviews potential wireless mergers and spectrum purchases

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The FCC may alter its guidelines for approving wireless mergers and purchases by creating a single set of criteria.

Cell tower STOCK
Cell tower STOCK

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.