Public Knowledge Calls AT&T Spectrum Statements ‘Unfortunate’
Public Knowledge Calls AT&T Spectrum Statements ‘Unfortunate’
Public Knowledge Calls AT&T Spectrum Statements ‘Unfortunate’

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    The following is attributed to Harold Feld,
    legal director for Public Knowledge:


    “It is unfortunate that AT&T Chairman
    Randall Stephenson still believes that buying out the wireless industry is the
    only way to improve his company’s spectrum efficiency.


    “His comment in this morning’s earnings
    call that the FCC has made it clear the agency won’t allow acquisitions as a
    means of increasing spectrum holdings is inappropriate for two reasons. The
    failed acquisition of T-Mobile would have had far wider implications than
    simply a spectrum acquisition. It is unfortunate that AT&T thinks that the
    only way it can increase its spectrum holdings is to purchase a competitor.  Using its current holdings more efficiently
    would also go a long way to relieving the company’s purported spectrum
    shortage. In addition, the Commission did allow AT&T to purchase spectrum
    from Qualcomm. 


    “It is also unfortunate that Stephenson
    criticized the FCC’s handling of the Qualcomm acquisition by saying that
    different spectrum ‘screen’ standards were applied for that deal than for the
    T-Mobile acquisition.  There were not. AT&T
    acknowledged when it applied for the Qualcomm purchase, before it applied to
    purchase T-Mobile, that the company was bumping up against the screen, a level
    of spectrum holdings which the Commission uses to determine competitive
    standards in a market.  AT&T
    executives must surely have realized that adding T-Mobile’s national spectrum footprint
    to Qualcomm’s national spectrum footprint would put them above the screen.


    “The FCC has a fine record in analyzing
    spectrum markets and in setting terms for auctions accordingly.  AT&T wants Congress to rig auctions for
    the benefit of it and other large companies while neglecting the larger issues
    of the competitive health of the industry. 
    Congress shouldn’t go along with yet another special-interest plan that
    benefits the few at the expense of the many and which would eliminate
    unlicensed spectrum as a source of innovation and economic growth.”