Wireless carriers are at it again in Washington, but, this time, Verizon is at the center of the debate. Late last year, the company announced that it was entering a venture to purchase mobile spectrum licenses from several cable companies for nearly $4 billion.
Verizon is hoping that the additional spectrum will help it alleviate the growing demands from mobile customers. Other wireless carriers and public interest groups, however, believe that the deal would give Verizon too much power and thus harm competition.
Numerous companies including T-Mobile USA, Sprint Nextel, Public Knowledge, and the National Consumer Law Center have filed complaints with the FCC asking that it block the deal from going through. WebProNews spoke with Jodie Griffin, a staff attorney with Public Knowledge, who told us that giving Verizon this additional power would be “to the detriment of smaller wireless carriers and to the detriment of consumers.”
What’s more, she told us that the deal comes with a couple of side agreements that could result in very big issues for consumers. One of these agreements is the “Joint Operating Entity” that would allow the companies to control foundational technologies and whether or not newcomers could integrate with them.
The deal is currently pending review from both the FCC and the Department of Justice, but Griffin said that “there’s a very good chance” that the FCC could block it from going through, especially in light of its recent decision to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.
Do you think the Verizon deal with the cable companies should go through? If so, why? Please share your thoughts in the comments.