Just as the AT&T/T-Mobile saga was waddling off into the sunset, Verizon has captured the briefly unoccupied attention of the U.S. Department of Justice due to their deal to purchase wireless spectrum from cable operators. Verizon has been a busy bee this month as they’ve snapped up over 100 spectrum licenses from the likes of Cox Communications, Comcast, and SpectrumCo.
Turns out that Verizon should’ve been taking notes from the AT&T-Mobile deal that the DoJ didn’t think too highly off because too many big moves like that attracts the kind of attention you may not like to attract. The agreement would’ve had Verizon paying $3.6 billion for the wireless spectrum only to resell the cable providers’ mobile service. From a report this morning in Reuters, the smell of the marketing arrangement in the deal is what triggered the DoJ’s keen antitrust smeller.
“My understanding is that it’s the deal that we’re looking at. We’re looking at the proposed deal,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona, who declined to outline any specific concerns the Justice Department had.
“Comcast has decided not to compete and is handing spectrum over to Verizon,” the source said. “They decided to halt the buildout. Instead of us seeing facilities-based competition, it appears that we’re seeing collaboration.”
At this point, I think it’s safe to say that AT&T and now Verizon are wireless hoarders. Verizon appears to be using the same argument that AT&T used in making their case for the T-Mobile acquisition by claiming to need the additional spectrum for their customer service demands. Seeing how well the AT&T-Mobile didn’t turn out, Verizon might want to polish that argument before their day in court.