In news that shouldn’t shock you, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are complaining to the Federal Communications Commission about Harbinger Capital Parners’ plan to purchase satellite operator SkyTerra and use that to create a 4G network using Long-Term Evolution.
What’s the beef? Well, the big carriers are arguing that a provision in the SkyTerra purchase is unfair because it requires the FCC to look at any capacity-leasing deal that involves the nation’s largest and second-largest carriers (Verizon and AT&T, respectively). SkyTerra’s 4G network will be sold to other providers, but only AT&T and Verizon would require this type of scrutiny.
“The process used to include these conditions in the SkyTerra order was deeply flawed and inconsistent with the transparent, open and fact-driven decision-making that has been an early hallmark of your chairmanship,” Verizon wrote in a letter to FCC Chairmain Julius Genachowski.
My advice: get over it. You can try and make a stink with your lobbyists but I don’t think there’s much wrong with a little extra scrutiny for the big boys. I believe the provision specifically says “largest and second-largest,” so they could always shrink down if they’re so concerned. The FCC pretty much feels the same way.
“These commitments – building out the network to 260 million Americans by 2015 and allowing the FCC prior review of potential leases of spectrum or capacity to the two largest incumbent carriers – do not prohibit any specific transactions,” the FCC’s Paul de Sa wrote in a blog post. “But they do provide some reassurance that the approval will ignite new broadband competition while protecting the public from any potential harms.”
[Via Fierce Wireless]