Verizon Wireless, like any other wireless operator around the world, will tell you that in order to build the biggest and baddest network they can, they need spectrum. That spectrum is normally auctioned off by governments. What companies do with the spectrum after they buy it is up to the companies to decide, for the most part. Way back in October 2006 some of America’s largest cable operators joined forces and bought up huge amounts of spectrum with the goal of competing with the wireless guys. Instead of doing that however, they just sat on the spectrum and let it collect dust. Recently Verizon offered to buy up all that spectrum, but in order to do that they need government approval.
Rumor has it the FCC is ready to approve the deal, but the Department of Justice is still wary about the whole idea. See, back in April Verizon signed a deal with Comcast that basically said Verizon would stop building out their high speed fiber service in Comcast’s markets and in exchange Comcast would promote Verizon’s wireless service to their existing customers. If that isn’t sleazy, we don’t know what is. Shit like that is why the DoJ has mixed feelings about letting Verizon get their way. It doesn’t help that T-Mobile was once fiercely against this deal going through, but then T-Mobile reached an agreement with Verizon whereby Verizon would surrender some of their AWS spectrum to T-Mobile in exchange for their “support”.
Assuming the deal does go through, Verizon gets to make their network faster, T-Mobile gets to accelerate their 4G LTE rollout plans, and the cable companies will (hopefully) invest their winnings into some new gear to modernize their aging coax based infrastructure. At the end of the day though, we’re still pretty upset that companies are treating the airwaves like Pokémon cards that can be traded.
Shouldn’t the government attach rules to the spectrum to prevent squatting?