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Verizon AWS deal opponents form alliance

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 2:39pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint, T-Mobile USA and a number of other groups have come together to put added pressure on the FCC as it reviews Verizon Wireless' purchase of a nationwide block of AWS spectrum from four cable operators.

The Alliance for Broadband Competition describes itself as "a collection of like-minded businesses, trade associations and public interest groups that are concerned about the ability for the current marketplace to sustain a competitive broadband landscape."

It includes some members that have asked for an outright block of the deal, such as T-Mobile and the Rural Telecommunications Group. Other members, such as Sprint and the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), have not asked the FCC to stop the transaction from going through but say conditions should be imposed on the deal to address what they characterize as the consolidation of spectrum in the hands of a single operator.

“The Verizon-cable deals require strict scrutiny, enforceable conditions helping to restore the competitive marketplace and divestiture in markets where the transfers are not in the public interest," RCA President and CEO Steve Berry said.

Verizon could not be immediately reached for comment, but it has consistently maintained that the spectrum is needed to add capacity to its LTE network. It has told the FCC it may run into spectrum constraints in some of its markets as early as next year without additional airwaves.

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