AT & T to FCC: Move on the Flo TV deal

Mon, 08/08/2011 - 8:10am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

AT&T is pushing the FCC to make a decision on its $1.93 billion purchase of Qualcomm's Flo TV spectrum in the 700 MHz band.

The deal was announced last December but has yet to be approved by the FCC.

Two AT&T executives in charge of federal regulations, Robert Quinn and Joan Marsh, met last week with FCC wireless bureau chief Rick Kaplan to urge the agency to approve the deal.

"AT&T noted that the above-referenced transaction has been pending for almost 180 days. AT&T urged the expeditious grant of the transaction application," the company said in documents filed with the FCC.

The FCC could not be immediately reached about the matter and does not typically provide comment on pending transactions. The agency sets a 180-day clock on reviews of major transactions, but may push out its informal, self-imposed deadline if it decides it needs more time to make a decision.

Today marks the 180th day since the FCC put out a public notice on AT&T's planned acquisition of Qualcomm's 700 MHz spectrum.

The deal sparked outcry from AT&T's competitors, especially in the wake of the operator's bid to buy T-Mobile USA and more than 40 individual licenses in the 700 MHz band.

Sprint, Cincinnati Bell Wireless, MetroPCS, NTELOS, the Rural Cellular Association and the Rural Telecommunications Group asked the FCC to consolidate the deals into one large review, arguing they were "part of AT&T's overall campaign to amass nationwide swathes of spectrum, including 'beachfront' 700 MHz licenses."

AT&T and Qualcomm are opposed the group's efforts to consolidate the deals.

AT&T wants to use Flo TV's unpaired D Block and E Block spectrum for extra downlink capacity in its LTE network, which is set to launch in five cities sometime this summer. The spectrum from the now-defunct mobile television service covers more than 300 million people across the country, including 12 MHz in the Lower D and E blocks covering 70 million people in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco.


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