Any Deal Likely to Perpetuate AT&T-Verizon Duopoly, Harm Rural Consumers
Verizon Wireless’ announcement earlier today that it would voluntarily sell select 700 MHz Lower A and B Block licenses is nothing more than a calculated attempt by the country’s largest mobile operator to dampen public opposition to the proposed deals it has with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Bright House Networks, the country’s largest cable companies, and its mere offering hints at the true mindset of Verizon Wireless.
The following statements can be attributed to Carri Bennet, RTG’s General Counsel:
Verizon Wireless’ offer to sell any spectrum is wholly contingent upon not just the FCC’s full approval of the spectrum sales from SpectrumCo and Cox to Verizon Wireless but also the government’s decision to allow the related joint venture, resale and wholesale deals between all of those companies. This offering is a lure and what Verizon Wireless really wants is the government’s blessing of its cable-wireless cartel.
Additionally, the mere fact that Verizon Wireless is offering spectrum for sale suggests that its capacity and congestion concerns are unfounded. By its own admission, Verizon Wireless is offering to sell 700 MHz spectrum in a more spectrally efficient band in the hopes it might acquire AWS spectrum in a band it has yet to even develop. Clearly, Verizon Wireless never was and currently is not starved for spectrum.
Furthermore, just as was the case when Verizon Wireless purchased ALLTEL Communications five years ago, Verizon Wireless is voluntarily offering carefully pre-selected “scraps” of spectrum to its competitors, but it already knows that the likely buyer of those scraps will be AT&T – – a move further designed to perpetuate the Twin Bell duopoly.
In short, this spectrum sale announcement is a well-crafted and well-thought-out distraction by Verizon Wireless designed for it to acquire what it wants most: the approval of federal regulators so that it may form an Axis of Broadband Power with the cable companies and in the process limit consumer choice which will result in higher prices. Verizon Wireless is willing to “lose” this minor battle so that it may ultimately win the wireless war, and that is not good for our citizens, especially those who live, work and travel through rural America.
About RTG – Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG) is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve less than 100,000 subscribers. RTG’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities. ruraltelecomgroup.org @RTGwireless
# # #