Six Wireless Companies and Industry Groups Urge FCC to Consolidate Review of AT&T’s Proposed Acquisition of Spectrum …

April 27, 2011
By

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a joint filing today with the Federal Communications Commission,
Cincinnati Bell Wireless, LLC, MetroPCS Communications, Inc., NTELOS,
the Rural Cellular Association, the Rural Telecommunications Group and
Sprint Nextel requested that the Commission consolidate its review of
ATT’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile, as well as ATT’s proposed
acquisition of additional spectrum from Qualcomm’s Lower 700 MHz D and E
Block licenses into a single proceeding.

“Both of ATT’s proposed takeovers here hit squarely on spectrum
aggregation and competition in the wireless industry”

As part of its competitive analysis of both of these proposed
transactions, the requesting companies believe the Commission must
examine the cumulative competitive effects created by ATT’s aggregation
of spectrum in both proposed transactions and the impact such
aggregation will have on the competitive provision of mobile broadband
applications and services. ATT and Verizon currently control 92% of the
broadband-capable 700 MHz spectrum in the top 54 US markets, and 100% of
the broadband-capable 700 MHz spectrum in the top ten US markets.

“RCA members have long been concerned about ATT spectrum aggregation,”
said Steven K. Berry, President CEO of RCA. “This transaction should
be viewed in the proper context and should be seen as part of a much
larger market-dominant position that ATT intends to secure with the
ATT/T-Mobile acquisition. It cannot be seen as a separate or individual
acquisition.”

As both the Qualcomm and T-Mobile transactions involve ATT acquiring of
spectrum in overlapping markets, the Commission would need to address
the cumulative competitive effects of both acquisitions. In the proposed
Qualcomm transaction, ATT seeks to acquire a group of licenses that
collectively have a national footprint as well as another group of
licenses in five large markets. The proposed T-Mobile takeover would
then add an additional 50 MHz on average in the same geographic areas
covered by the proposed Qualcomm transaction, making a joint analysis
the only way to truly assess the overlap and its effects on the wireless
market.

“Both of ATT’s proposed takeovers here hit squarely on spectrum
aggregation and competition in the wireless industry,” said Carri
Bennet, General Counsel to the Rural Telecommunications Group. “The
Commission has the authority and the precedent to consolidate
applications where interrelated competitive issues are raised. It is
critical that the Commission gain a full understanding of the cumulative
impact that both of these transactions will have on competition,
consumer welfare and the public interest. This can only be done if the
two transactions are reviewed together.”

Article source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110427006428/en/Wireless-Companies-Industry-Groups-Urge-FCC-Consolidate The feed :

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