Late last night T-Mobile USA filed with the FCC in an attempt to block Verizon Wireless from acquiring spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House, and Cox Communications. T-mobile is arguing that if allowed the transfer would allot an “excessive concentration” of the wireless spectrum in the US to Big Red, who already has a considerable amount of spectrum holdings. The purchase of $3.9 billion of unused AWS spectrum held by SpectrumCo, a joint venture of the aforementioned cable companies, was announced in December of 2011.
It is interesting to see T-Mobile putting up a fight over spectrum consolidation when just last year they were a part of an attempted merger with the nation’s #2 carrier, AT&T. If not pushed into withdrawal by antitrust regulators from the Justice Department, that acquisition would also have consolidated a large portion of wireless spectrum under a single carrier’s control.
This flipflopping may signal a change of approach by Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile USA, who had seemingly no interest in holding onto Big Pink and were more than willing to sell off to AT&T for the agreed upon $39 billion back in March of 2011. They received $3 billion in cash and stock from AT&T (in addition to $1 billion in spectrum) as a part of the agreement when the acquisition failed. Originally they stated that “there is no plan B” for operating the carrier here in the States, and it was widely rumored that they would attempt to find another buyer to take T-Mobile USA off their hands. However, their recent attentiveness to the US wireless spectrum situation with regards to the Verizion purchase could indicate that they’re going to do what many people would argue they should have done from the beginning: innovate and strive to be profitable instead of rolling over and accepting its “fate” as AT&T’s $40 billion lunch.
Source: The Associated Press (Greenville Online)