Verizon's AWS spectrum acquisition to be approved by the FCC and Department of Justice

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| August 16, 2012

Verizon Wireless

Reports have been coming out in recent weeks claiming that the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice were close to approving Verizon's proposed AWS spectrum acquisition from various cable companies, and now it looks like that's precisely what's going to happen. According to CNET, both the FCC are DoJ will be green lighting the deal between Verizon and a group of cable operators, but there will be conditions attached to the approval. Verizon will be divesting some of its spectrum to T-Mobile to appease the FCC and has also agreed to speed up the buildout of its new spectrum and also improve its roaming commitments. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has announced that he believes that the deal should be approved and that he'll soon pass a draft order to the other commissioners in order to do so.

Meanwhile, the DoJ has required both the scope and duration of the cross-marketing deals between Verizon and the cable companies to be limited, as was previously rumored. A statement from Joseph Wayland, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, is as follows:

"By limiting the scope and duration of the commercial agreements among Verizon and the cable companies while at the same time allowing Verizon and T-Mobile to proceed with their spectrum acquisitions, the department has provided the right remedy for competition and consumers. The Antitrust Division's enforcement action ensures that robust competition between Verizon and the cable companies continues now and in the future as technological change alters the telecommunications landscape."

Verizon has agreed to do quite a bit in order to gain approval of its AWS spectrum acquisition, including a spectrum swap with T-Mobile and a promise to sell off some 700MHz spectrum if this AWS deal is okayed. It looks like all of Verizon's work has been worth it, though, as its $3.9 billion purchase looks set to be approved. Verizon has said in the past that it intends to use this AWS spectrum to offer improved LTE products and services. The big red carrier has yet to comment on the news of the approval of its acquisition, but we'll let you know if it does.

Via CNET, FCC, Department of Justice