FCC wants Verizon to prove it needs additional spectrum by next year

FCC wants Verizon to prove it needs additional spectrum by next year
If there is one thing that mobile carriers can't get enough of, besides customers of course, is spectrum. Without more spectrum, carriers can't expand the size of its business, coverage and features.Verizon is seeking the FCC's approval to receive 122 AWS spectrum licenses that it is acquiring from three cable companies. The trio says that it has no use for this spectrum which is why it is unloading it to Verizon. The spectrum involved covers 259 million POPS in the States and cost Big Red $3.6 billion. The carrier says that without this additional spectrum, it will hit capacity in some markets on its EV-DO and LTE networks by next year. With the carrier's mobile traffic doubling every year, Verizon needs to get its hands on as much spectrum as it can. But before the FCC signs off the license transfer, it wants some more information from Verizon.

The FCC sent a letter on Thursday to Verizon, requesting more information on the mobile operator's business, current spectrum holdings, and the 122 licenses that it wants to acquire. The Feds have put a March 22nd deadline on turning in the report and what they want to see are all of the reasons why Verizon believes it needs all of this additional spectrum by next year. The Feds also sent letters to the three cable companies selling the spectrum, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network, asking why the trio could not use this spectrum.

You might wonder why the FCC is acting suspicious about the deal. The answer is, they have a good reason to think that something is funny. Comcast has previously stated that its SpectrumCo tried, but failed in an effort to put together its own wireless service. Yet, at a conference, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis said that Comcast never planned to use its AWS spectrum. Now, the FCC wants to know what attempts the cable operators have made over the last six years to build a wireless network. As for Comcast, the Feds want more information about the statement made by Angelakis.

The FCC letter to Verizon seeks documentation on 37 areas of contention including any joint marketing plans between Verizon and the cable firms. Spectrum assignment deals usually take about 6 months to get final approval, which means that we are still about 4 and a half months away from the closing. Verizon VP of Policy Communications Ed McFadden says he believes that the deal will get approved and that it is important to get unused spectrum into the hands of the public. While the FCC wouldn't necessarily disagree, the agency is concerned about the joint marketing agreement that Verizon has with the cable firms to offer bundled cable and data services. FCC spokesman Neil Grace said that the FCC "has concluded that portions of the commercial agreements are inseparable from the proposed license transfer and related wireless competition issues."  To the extent that this plays a part in the FCC's deliberations, it could make this deal a little more "iffy" than it should have been.

You can read the letter from the FCC to Verizon by clicking on the sourcelink.

source: FCC via GigaOM



1. itiswhatitis

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

Pretty Bad!

2. akhi216

Posts: 61; Member since: May 01, 2011

I see both sides of this coin. Verizon wants additional spectrum to keep LTE on smartphones unlimited and have enough wiggle room for the impending influx of LTE iPads/iPhones. The FCC's message is clear: stop sitting on spectrum if you want us to let you have more.

3. audiblenarcotic

Posts: 114; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

I'm pretty sure that the LTE on thier smartphones is capped. They aren't trying to keep or make anything unlimited.

4. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

what akhi216 is refering to, is those of us who have grandfathered unlimited plans and want to keep them at all costs. Plus the additional spectrum will allow for improved and consistent speeds.Granted, VZW definitely has spectrum that can be used right now, so I say they light it up and prove that the additional is needed.

5. akhi216

Posts: 61; Member since: May 01, 2011

audible narcotic - No. Verizon does not throttle LTE data for unlimited users on smartphones. Yes they throttle 3G unlimited users but they do not throttle 4G unlimited users as people have use over 100 GB in a billing cycle with no repercussions. I challenge you to find one complaint about VZW throttling LTE data recently. They said that they aren't throttling at this time.

6. W.P._Android_in_that_Order

Posts: 208; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Its true that VZW isn't throttling their lte customers. That being said, they absolutely do not need the extra spectrum and would be just buying it to monopolize the market in the same way that ATT wanted to monopolize the market by getting a huge customer base. What VZW really wants to do is 'invest' in spectrum now and not use it because it is going up in price. Then, when the other wireless companies come begging VZW to give up their unused spectrum, they can rip off the competition with an anti-competitive deal that raises the price of wireless so high nobody can afford it but them. Its basically messing with supply-demand to their advantage. This standard anti-competitive behavior goes on in the diamond industry as well. There is a patented way to make man-made diamonds better than real diamonds for a fraction of the cost, but the diamond companies bought up the technology to keep the price unnaturally high.

7. Jphones

Posts: 258; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

They don't need the spectrum they probably just got some backroom deal with the cable providers to add some premium shows or somethin of that nature to Verizon's arsenal. As in oh we'll sell you this spectrum you add this bloatware.smh Verizon always doin some BS if they weren't up to BS how about lowering prices since they tryin to build their services but we know Big Red would merge with Big Blue before that happens. So just block the deal almost as bad at the failed Tmobile AT&T merger.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.