FCC Should Deny Verizon, Straight Path Transaction and Allow Competitors the Opportunity to Acquire Spectrum on Competitively Neutral Terms
Washington, DC – February 20, 2018 – Today, in an Application for Review, or in the alternative a Petition for Reconsideration, filed with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”), Competitive Carriers Association (“CCA”) petitioned the Commission to reconsider the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s (“Bureau”) Memorandum Opinion and Order (“MO&O”) approving the transfer of spectrum licenses from Straight Path to Verizon (the “Transaction”). The proposed Transaction would concentrate valuable millimeter wave (“mmW”) spectrum into the hands of Verizon, and CCA encouraged the Commission to deny the Transaction and instead auction Straight Path’s licenses to protect consumers and competition.
“I strongly encourage the FCC to grant CCA’s application for review and deny the Verizon, Straight Path Transaction,” said CCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry. “The Commission is not in the business of choosing winners and losers, and approving the proposed Transaction would do just that. Allowing Verizon, one of the nation’s largest carriers, to acquire a large amount of extremely valuable 5G-ready mmW spectrum without an opportunity for all carriers to acquire the spectrum at auction is not in the public’s best interest and would harm industry competition.”
Berry continued, “In its MO&O, the Bureau failed to conduct a meaningful review of how the Transaction would affect spectrum aggregation with regards to 5G competition, and suddenly applied a new spectrum aggregation threshold of 1850 MHz without notice. The Transaction clearly exceeds the current 1250 MHz threshold limit in several key markets, and raising the limit inappropriately affords Verizon special treatment. Additionally, the Bureau ignored Straight Path’s fraudulent behavior of selling warehoused licenses, allowing Straight Path to pocket almost $2.5 billion. These licenses could have been auctioned to the benefit of wireless competition, American taxpayers and the U.S Treasury.”
“The Bureau’s MO&O is very concerning and certainly warrants review by the full Commission to correct the deficiencies. I encourage the Commission to deny the Transaction or, at a minimum, require divestitures in markets where the Transaction would exceed the 1250 MHz screen, which was in place at the time of application. The FCC should seize this opportunity to auction valuable mmW spectrum as soon as possible.”
CCA is the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers and stakeholders across the United States. The licensed service area of CCA’s nearly 100 carrier members covers 95 percent of the nation. Visit www.ccamobile.org.
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