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Wednesday, November 05, 2008
FCC Approves Verizon/Alltel and Sprint/ Clearwire Deals

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Tuesday to approve a Verizon Wireless plan to buy Alltel Corp for $28.1 billion and Sprint Nextel's proposed joint venture with Clearwire Corp.

The deal will make Verizon Wireless the biggest U.S. mobile service, followed bt AT&T Inc.

Sprint and Clearwire plan to combine their resources to build a high-speed wireless network with investments from companies such as Comcast, Intel and Google.

The U.S. telecommunications regulator said Verizon Wireless could procedd with the Alltel purchase but requires that one of the two companies to divest the licenses and related operational and network assets in 100 markets.

"The voluntary divestitures imposed as conditions, together with the additional divestitures required, will prevent consolidation in individual markets from advancing to a point at which it would threaten competition and potentially harm consumers," the commission said.

Further, the Commission conditioned its approval of this transaction on roaming commitments made by Verizon Wireless. The Commission also conditioned its approval of this transaction on Verizon Wireless?s commitments to accept a phase down of competitive ETC high cost support, for any properties which Verizon Wireless retains, over a five year period following closing of the transaction, and to use counties for measuring compliance with the Commission?s wireless E911 location accuracy rules governing handset-based technologies.

The FCC also today approved, with conditions, the transfer of control of licenses held Sprint-Nextel Corporation and Clearwire Corporation to New Clearwire Corporation. The merger is expected to facilitate the build-out of a nationwide WiMAX-based network that will lead to increased competition, greater consumer choice and new wireless services.

The companies announced their $14.5 billion venture in May and their plan to build a WiMax network.

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