Today, the FCC approved, with conditions, AT&T's acquisition of Leap Wireless. The following statement can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge.
“Although we're pleased the Commission has required specific spectrum divestitures of AT&T in accordance with its existing spectrum policies, this proceeding highlights the need for new policies that better address the problem of spectrum consolidation.
“The removal of Leap (which operates the well-known brand, Cricket) from the marketplace is troubling, because its low-cost, prepaid price plans are particularly attractive to low-income consumers. While, among other things, AT&T has committed to offering a $40, unlimited plan for feature phones for 18 months, the best guarantee of consumer protection is competition, not promises.
“That said, the Commission has ameliorated some of this deal's negative effects. It can continue to protect consumers by adopting policies in other proceedings (such as the broadcast incentive auction and the spectrum aggregation proceeding) that promote competition between licensed providers and allow for expanded unlicensed spectrum use.”
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