In a March 12th filing, RTG continues to oppose the proposed sale of spectrum from Leap Wireless to Verizon Wireless. Verizon and Leap fail to adequately refute the adverse impact on competition and the public interest that would result from Verizon acquiring AWS and PCS licenses throughout the country from Leap and Savary. Whatever limited public interest benefits that might occur as a result of the proposed transactions are strongly outweighed by the many public interest harms that will result should the deals proceed.
Approval of the applications will allow Verizon to exert substantially increased market power and use such power to prevent small and rural carriers from being able to realistically compete with Verizon, especially in those markets where Leap is selling all of its spectrum holdings. Leap’s downsizing and retreat from certain markets combined with Verizon’s acquisition of more spectrum further increases the harms to competition posed by the duopoly of Verizon and AT&T. The FCC must investigate thoroughly these competitive harms and do so in parallel with the contemporaneously proposed spectrum sales from SpectrumCo and Cox Communications (i.e., the cable companies) to Verizon. This heightened review should be performed based on a spectrum screen that has been adjusted downward.
In order to maintain a competitive marketplace on a forward-moving basis, the FCC should begin a rulemaking proceeding that imposes a spectrum aggregation limit for all CMRS licensees.