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FCC Trying To Approve AT&T–Qualcomm Thursday

Look for the FCC Thursday to wrap up its approval of AT&T's purchase of spectrum from Qualcomm. Sources said there was an effort to vote it, with one source saying expect it by 3 p.m., another saying there was more like an outside chance it would be done, though the goal was to do that. It has yet to be voted by all the commissioners.

At the same time the commission signaled it was not going to approve the AT&T-T-Mobile deal last month, it circulated an order approving the AT&T-Qualcomm deal. AT&T is buying former broadcast spectrum that Qualcomm used to try unsuccessfully to create a new, nationwide pay video service. AT&T argues it will put it to a "higher, better use," advanced 4G wireless service. That is the same argument it made for the public interest benefits of the T-Mobile purchase, which it abandoned this week after both the FCC and Justice lodged their oppositions, Justice via an antitrust suit.

Sources were also describing Thursday as one of the busier FCC days of the year, with the media ownership notice of proposed rulemaking also voted and statements being prepared for release at press time.