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Consumer Groups, Wireless Competitors: SpectrumCo. Purchase Part of Larger Transactions

Consumer groups and wireless competitors have
told the FCC that it needs to look beyond Verizon's planned purchase of
spectrum from cable operators to a series of related deals and relationships
among them.

a letter to the FCC on Verizon's application to assume the wireless spectrum
licenses of SpectrumCo. and Cox, Public Knowledge, Sprint, T-Mobile, and others
said that deal is part of a larger transaction between "actual and
potential competitors."

the ability to review the larger transaction in its entirety, it is impossible
to assess whether there will be public interest harms associated with the
proposed transfer," they said.

groups pointed to the applications' assertions that SpectrumCo owners -- Comcast,
Time Warner Cable and Bright House -- have entered into "several agreements,
providing for the sale of various products and services," including the
ability to sell Verizon Wireless service on a wholesale basis, which would mean
branding it as part of a cable quadruple-play bundle.

also point to Verizon and the cable companies' creation of a joint venture to
develop technology to integrate wireless and wireline service. 

to the groups, while Comcast and Verizon have submitted more details about the
related deals, their assertion that they are outside of the FCC's application
review are off base. "We expect the Commission to evaluate these
arrangements in the context of the spectrum deal to determine how the entire transaction
will affect competition and the public interest."