A request has been sent by T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel to the F.C.C (Federal Communications commission) to suspend its review of Verizon’s purchase of wireless spectrum from cable operators. Both wireless companies have asked for the details of the deal struck by Verizon with the cable operators and also how the proposed $3.6 billion was distributed among the many sellers. Both T-Mobile and Sprint requested F.C.C to suspend its six month review, at least until details pertaining to the deal are made public.
Direct TV and several consumer forums have also joined in with the aforementioned wireless companies in seeking the details of the deal and the various commercial agreements signed between Verizon Wireless and the cable operators. Verizon was successful in striking a deal with operators like Comcast, Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications, for the purchase of 20 MHz of AWS spectrum which hasn’t been used till date. Verizon claims that this additional spectrum will be used in the expansion of its LTE network.
The spectrum wasn’t the only component of these deals. Added advantages like allowing the cable operators to sell and market Verizon’s services as a part of a package were also made available. On the other hand, Verizon is also allowed to sell and market TV and voice services in its chain of retail stores. Another statement in the agreement allows cable operators to gain access to Verizon’s network at much cheaper rates, allowing them to sell wireless services under their own brands.
Experts have asserted that the marketing and redistribution potential of the deal will be much more profitable in the future than the spectrum part of the deal, which is why companies like T-Mobile and Sprint are requesting the details of the complete agreement i.e. in order to gain a better understanding of the deal.
Verizon has argued that the details of the deal cannot be made public as the US Department of Justice is reviewing the details of the deal in the documents that have been filed with them. Verizon also argued that it aims to protect the details as they constitute confidential business information. Experts say that the attempt from T-Mobile and Sprint is justified as both are miles behind AT&T and Verizon, both in terms of market share as well as spectrum controlled. Hence, this latest move is only an attempt at equitable redistribution.