With the government looking at auctioning the frequency spectrum, all mobile carriers across the United States are trying to get their piece of the cake. However two moguls have already announced big acquisitions that would leave the others short on options. For that reason several groups are now urging the FCC to put an end to the Verizon and Comcast deals.
A filing submitted with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) argued that the Verizon and Comcast deals would disadvantage the other players in the market. Basically the deals would allow Verizon and Comcast to resell each other’s services, thus resulting in a monopoly.
The filing was signed by nine groups, among which Public Knowledge, the Media Access Project, the New America Foundation Open Technology Initiative as well as the National Consumer Law Center. Even T-Mobile joined the opposition on these deals, saying that it would give Verizon “an excessive concentration” of the wireless spectrum.
According to the opposition, the deals in discussion should “give rise to serious concern that not only will these providers decline to compete further with one another, they will actively collude with one another”.
The advocacy groups also added that the two deals “would fundamentally alter the nature of the telecommunications world in a manner utterly contrary to that intended by the 1996 Telecommunications Act”, which refers to expanding the telecommunication market’s competition.
But, in front of such allegations, Verizon had only one thing to say: “We believe the spectrum purchase is in the public interest, and will address the needs of all consumers, putting spectrum to work to meet growing demand”. The company also added that despite what its competition might argue, the deals abide by the FCC’s objective to ensure “existing spectrum is used by providers who can use it efficiently”.
The controversy over the deals began in December last year, as soon as Verizon and Comcast announced the spectrum acquisitions. Verizon’s $3.6 million deal is to buy underused spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo that will improve services for 259 million residents. Shortly after that, Cox Communications also announced it intends to sell wireless spectrum licenses worth $315 million to Verizon.