The Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Department of Justice today announced conditional approval of Verizon Wireless’s proposed acquisition of 122 AWS spectrum licenses from a consortium of cable companies. The deal, first announced last year, is valued at $3.9 billion. In order to win approval for the deal, the FCC is requiring Verizon to divest some spectrum to T-Mobile and the DoJ has put limits on the cross-marketing agreements in the proposal.
“Approval of the substantially modified transaction will promote the public interest and benefit consumers in several ways … by advancing U.S. leadership in 4G LTE deployment … and [putting] approximately 20 megahertz of prime spectrum—spectrum that has gone unused for too long—quickly to work across the country,” said FCC chair Julius Genachowski. Genachowski will recommend that fellow FCC commissions officially approve the transaction.
Department of Justice antitrust chairman Joseph Wayland added, “By limiting the scope and duration of the commercial agreements among Verizon and the cable companies while at the same time allowing Verizon and T-Mobile to proceed with their spectrum acquisitions, the department has provided the right remedy for competition and consumers.”
Verizon has not yet indicated when it believes the deal will close. It will use the AWS spectrum to shore up its LTE 4G network.