While the media has been getting ahead of itself in places, Verizon Wireless does seem to have overcome the last hurdle to its $3.6B acquisition of AWS spectrum from the cable MSOs. The Department of Justice approved the deal yesterday, with a condition or two attached, and now they’re just waiting for the FCC to get on with things and finish the process.
For all the hoopla about how having too much spectrum in Verizon’s hands would end the world, the DOJ was really most concerned with anti-competitive bundling of the company’s wireless services with the cable’s various packages. The conditions they imposed on the deal allow Verizon to resell the cable company’s services outside their own territory, but limit the practice where FIOS is already rolled out – thus maintaining a fig leaf of competition for a few.
While the media has been hoping for this to turn into an AT&T-TMobile fervor, it has never seemed likely to me that the deal was ever in any real danger.
Meanwhile, Dish Network is still waiting for regulat0rs to get off their kiesters when it comes to approving a waiver for its spectrum holdings to be used for LTE. They’re probably wondering why the FCC spent so much time on simply allowing Verizon’s plans to go forward while dithering on a plan that actually increases both competition and the total spectrum available for wireless data.
The delay may have forced the company into joining up with Clearwire for their national buildout, as a recent regulatory filing showed a $396M investment in an unnamed company that seems unlikely to be anyone else. Such a partnership has seemed like an obvious step for some time IMHO. Clearwire may be behind the others in building out LTE, but they can give Dish a significant boost via their existing infrastructure and spectrum.