Cable operators and Verizon argued on Tuesday that the impact of the proposed Verizon-T-Mobile spectrum swap on the proposed Verizon-SpectrumCo deal will be to make it even more consumer-friendly and give the government even less reason to take issue with it.
In comments to the FCC, which extended the comment
period to July 10 on the SpectrumCo deal, Verizon Wireless, SpectrumCo and Cox
Wireless said that the T-Mobile swap can only enhance the public interest
benefits and will "underscore the effectiveness of the Commission's
secondary markets policies," while mitigating concerns the SpectrumCo deal
would be putting too much spectrum in one company's hands.
And in case there were any doubt that Verizon's T-Mobile
deal was partly a way to boost its chances of snagging cable spectrum, the
parties laid it on the table. "[T]he T-Mobile transaction further
undermines spectrum aggregation claims made by some parties in the
SpectrumCo-Cox proceeding." But they also argue that there is public
interest benefit to the deal regardless of the separate Verizon-T-Mobile deal.
"The SpectrumCo-Cox and T-Mobile transactions
demonstrate that the secondary market for spectrum can work to efficiently put
existing spectrum into the hands of parties that can put it to use to serve
customers and to expand and enhance 4G LTE mobile broadband services -- but
only if the Commission promptly approves transactions like these," they
Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House (SpectrumCo) and
Cox (a former SpectrumCo partner) have said they were not going to build out a
standalone competitive wireless network with the advanced wireless spectrum
they bought at auction, so selling it to Verizon, they argue, is a way to get
it back in circulation ASAP.