Sprint, AT&T, Verizon in the crosshairs as FCC plans spectrum rule changes

The FCC plans to add 128.5MHz. of spectrum to its screening procedures for vetting mergers and spectrum sales. Sprint (S -4.1%) owns 101MHz. of the spectrum, via its acquisition of Clearwire and its valuable 2.5GHz. band spectrum (good for urban areas).

The rule change, due for a May 15 vote, relates to the FCC's scrutiny of deals that give a carrier more than 1/3 of all spectrum in a particular market. Sprint will exceed that threshold in most big markets once the change goes through.

Though Sprint won't be forced to sell spectrum in those markets, it could have a much harder time adding to its spectrum position within them via M&A - say, through a merger with T-Mobile USA (TMUS -3.6%).

Separately, the FCC plans to provide tougher scrutiny of deals that would lead to a single carrier having over 1/3 of all quality low-frequency (sub-1GHz., better for buildings and rural areas) spectrum in a market, and to limit how much a carrier with such a spectrum position can bid in 2015's anticipated low-frequency auctions.

AT&T (T +1.3%) and Verizon (VZ +1.5%), which together control a giant share of low-frequency U.S. mobile spectrum, are the companies targeted by those proposals. Sprint, T-Mobile, and other rivals have been pressuring the FCC to limit how much spectrum AT&T and Verizon can buy in the 2015 auction.

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Comments (3)
  • Mikie713
    , contributor
    Comments (762) | Send Message
    This is where $VZ burning cash for $VOD to control all its cell service backfires.
    28 Apr 2014, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • putzandcallz
    , contributor
    Comments (153) | Send Message
    First, this article implies that the FCC has already voted on and approved this screening formula. The agency’s next open meeting isn't until May 15th. So this would make this statement an assumption . Sprint probably will not comment on this screening statement, and if they did, they certainly would not act like little kids about the matter, like some other unnamed Company. Their approach I think, is to compete the best they can, with what they have. Tomorrow, Sprint will announce earnings for the short 1st quarter, so we will all know how well there plans to compete are progressing.
    So, it is my contention that this is all about a few short sellers publicizing a negative article that could give reason to sell the stock. I hope the FCC reads this article, because I feel VZ and T are behind these negative statements. There by causing their positions to go higher in a negative trending market. IMHO
    28 Apr 2014, 06:14 PM Reply Like
  • cathysjungle
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    Sprint was the initiator of speaking to FCC limitations but want to do their deal which amounts to parallel the same goals they are critical of regarding T & VZ. Sprint can't have it both ways - one regulation they want to help themselves and another they're against which would not benefit their goals, but rather another company.
    15 May 2014, 04:19 PM Reply Like
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