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Sprint/T-Mobile Plan To Buy Spectrum Together May Be Blocked By FCC 28

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a FCC proposal that is bad news for Sprint and T-Mobile. A proposal from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would block an attempt by Sprint and T-Mobile US to buy spectrum together in the incentive auction that will transfer airwaves from broadcast TV stations to cellular carriers next year. Announced on Friday, Wheeler's proposal seeks to help the smallest wireless companies develop business partnerships with larger ones. But it would not allow partnerships between the biggest carriers, since more than 95 percent of US customers are served by either AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless. "Our goal is to promote the participation of as many parties as possible in the auction," FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Roger Sherman wrote Friday. "If two of the largest companies are able to bid as one combined entity in the auction, their combined resources may have the effect of suppressing meaningful competition. Therefore, the item tentatively concludes that joint bidding arrangements between nationwide providers should not be allowed."
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Sprint/T-Mobile Plan To Buy Spectrum Together May Be Blocked By FCC

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. Form Startup Co
    2. Seek investment from T-Mobile & Sprint
    3. Bid on Spectrum
    4. Sell company to Sprint/T-Mobile
    5. Profit

  • That they have the best lobbyists money can buy!
    • No kidding - Free having access to spectrum [slashdot.org] would be horrendously bad for the incumbent corporations' profits. We can't have that now, and, my, what coincidental timing! Thank goodness we have the FCC looking out for the "public interest".

      • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @09:18PM (#47596239)

        No kidding - Free having access to spectrum would be horrendously bad for the incumbent corporations' profits. We can't have that now, and, my, what coincidental timing! Thank goodness we have the FCC looking out for the "public interest".

        That's the only explanation that isn't astoundingly bizarre, so Occam's Razor says it's most likely the correct one.

        But speaking of astoundingly bizarre: imagine living in a world in which FCC considers blocking Sprint and T-Mobile from sharing spectrum, and yet even briefly considered allowing Comcast and Time-Warner to merge into a blatantly and aggressively monopolistic mega-corporation.

        (Note: a TWC employee recently told me the company is "making changes to their network because Comcast bought us". Apparently he isn't aware that it's not a done deal... and if his bosses are they aren't telling anybody.)

  • by technosaurus (1704630) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @04:38PM (#47595261)
    It should ban any entities with another spectrum in that location in round 1.  If no bidders then round 2 allow smaller entities with other spectrums in other areas.  ... if still no takers round 3 it should be open to all entities.

    This would increase competition in rural areas where there may be no existing infrastructure, but not eliminate the possibility of allowing existing entities to provide service to those areas if no _local_ company wants it.
  • Well, we can dream (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Krishnoid (984597) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @05:04PM (#47595347) Journal

    Just a couple edits, and ...

    "If two of the largest cable companies are able to combine into one entity in the marketplace, their combined resources may have the effect of suppressing meaningful competition. Therefore, the item tentatively concludes that merger arrangements between regional providers should not be allowed."

    Here's hoping.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      merger arrangements between regional providers should not be allowed.

      I'll drink to that.

      Oh to have a Justice Department that would enforce the anti-trust laws.

  • The plan was always to block all mergers of Sprint and T-Mobile so that they will eventually die on the vine and Verizon and AT&T can pick up their subscriber base for pennies. Then it's time to jack prices to the sky and crush service even more. Now that the state of the industry in the US is more than 15 years behind the curve of the rest of the industrialized world, things will only get worse. In a few more years Telcom will be so bad in the US it will become a driver to send people and industries ou

    • by operagost (62405)
      That's exactly what I thought. Convenient that the government's monopoly concerns are limited to the top four companies. Conveniently they focus on restricting the bottom two, which are the only ones capable of giving meaningful competition to the top two.

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