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Verizon offers asset sale for approval on cable airwave buy

19 апреля 2012

Verizon Wireless offered to sell some of its assets in exchange for regulatory approval of a $3.9 billion purchase of a block of wireless airwaves from a group of cable television companies. The carrier, the largest in the U.S., said Wednesday that it would look to sell some of its 700 megahertz airwaves, or spectrum, should the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department sign off on the cable deal.

Verizon Wireless has met some resistance to the cable deal from rivals, including T-Mobile USA and watchdog groups who say the carrier would amass too much market power. AT&T Inc. also was prepared to sell some assets, but its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile was stymied last year over concerns it would stifle competition.

Verizon Wireless bought the 700 megahertz spectrum in an FCC-sponsored auction in 2008. A spokeswoman said the carrier hadn't used the spectrum and would prefer to use the cable airwaves to help it build out its high-speed mobile broadband network known as 4G LTE.

If regulators oppose the cable deal, Verizon Wireless would "have to supplement our existing spectrum with other, yet to be named, spectrum," said the spokeswoman, Robin Nicol.

Nicol said the offer to sell the 700 megahertz spectrum did not come about from its private negotiations with regulators. An FCC spokesman declined to comment.

Verizon Wireless said the sale of 700 megahertz spectrum is also contingent on regulatory approval of a planned spectrum swap with Leap Wireless International Inc. Under that deal, Leap will give Verizon Wireless a spectrum license that covers about 18.7 million Americans, and the carrier will give Leap some Chicago-area licenses covering about 11 million.

Carriers are fighting for access to licenses for existing spectrum as users dial up more video, music and photos on their tablet computers and iPhones. A new auction of wireless licenses could take years to put together, and AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. have said they face a potentially crippling shortage of spectrum.

Verizon is also awaiting a review of marketing deals it struck with the cable companies--Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks--in which they would cross-promote each other's products in stores.

Verizon Wireless hired the financial services firm Stephens Inc., based in Little Rock, Ark., to manage the spectrum sale process.

Verizon Communications Inc., which co-owns Verizon Wireless with Vodafone Group PLC, recently shed 11 cents to $37.63.



Источник: Total Telecom

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