The following is
attributed to Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge:
“On the one hand,
it is good news that Verizon is paying $3.6 billion to buy useful
spectrum from the cable company consortium. Spectrum is better held
in the hands of those who will use it, as opposed to those who don’t.
also shows how relatively cheaply more spectrum can be acquired by
those who need it. The purchase price is about one-tenth of the
amount AT&T wants to pay for T-Mobile to theoretically solve
AT&T’s spectrum shortage.
“At the same time, we have some
questions and concerns about the transaction’s side deal. Consumers
have benefited from head-to-head competition between Comcast and Time
Warner (the major partners in SpectrumCo) and Verizon FIOS. If this
deal becomes a way for the companies to coordinate their product
offerings to avoid competition, or a way to work together to exclude
other competitors such as DISH from the mobile and wireless data
market, that would obviously be a bad outcome.
“The Federal Communications
Commission will need to review this transaction. Even with our
general approval of spectrum being used, the Commission will also
need to review the transaction against its ‘spectrum screen,’ which
measures spectrum concentration rather than market share, to ensure
that there is enough leftover spectrum in every market for vigorous