Verizon AWS spectrum deal reportedly due to be approved soon after companies agree to compromisesAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
Last month we learned that the U.S. Department of Justice was holding up Verizon's proposed acquisition of AWS spectrum from several cable companies over concerns with the side portions in the agreement, which involve cross-marketing deals between the firms involved. It appears that the two sides have been able to find some harmony, though, as the Wall Street Journal says that the companies involved have agreed to make some compromises to get the deal done. The cable firms have allegedly agreed to limit both the scope and duration of their agreements to sell one another's services, and after five years, the companies will need to reapply for approval on its cross-marketing deals. Additionally, Verizon and Comcast won't do any cross-marketing in areas where they both offer Internet, phone and TV services.
In addition to the concessions made for the DoJ, the Wall Street Journal also claims that the FCC may add a couple of its own conditions to the deal. Examples of those concessions are that Verizon must offer its competitors data roaming deals at competitive rates, and that the big red carrier must also use its spectrum within a few years of the acquisition. Sources say that both the FCC and DoJ are getting ready to approve Verizon's AWS spectrum acquisition sometime in the coming weeks.
Verizon first announced its proposed AWS spectrum deals with multiple cable companies back in December of 2011. Since then we've seen Verizon agree to sell off some of its 700MHz spectrum if its deal gets approved, T-Mobile argue against and then get on board with the acquisition, and regulators have concerns with the deal before finally reaching an agreement with the companies involved, which is where we stand today. The firms may have had to make some concessions to gain the government's approval, but considering what the companies involved are gaining (cash and cross-marketing deals for cable companies, new spectrum for Verizon), I'm sure that they felt motivated to agree to the DoJ's adjustments to the deals. We'll give you a heads-up when we hear more on the agreements.