The U.S. Justice Department is probing Verizon Wireless after it made deals with Comcast and Cox Communications that will contribute to Verizon’s cable and wireless services. The Justice Department is stepping in to determine whether these new deals put too much cable and wireless power in the hands of Verizon while preventing competition from getting a fair share of the airwaves.
Verizon has been buying spectrum lately like a child buys candy. In total, Verizon spent $3.6 billion to acquire as much of it as possible. Comcast received $2.3 billion, the largest chunk. Verizon paid Time Warner Cable $1.1 billion, Bright House Networks $189 million, and $315 million went to Cox Communications as of December 16th. The transactions are pending approval.
Mark Cooper, director of research at Consumer Federation of America, makes his opposition crystal clear:
“This agreement is diminishing competition in every way. It means the cable companies are no longer trying to do their own thing in wireless, it concentrates ownership of spectrum and it turns rivals such as Verizon and Comcast into partners.”
In related news about control over the wireless industry, AT&T gave up trying to acquire T-Mobile yesterday. One legal case has been closed, and without hesitation we now move on to another.