AT&T, the US’ largest wireless provider, has asked the Federal Communications Commission to block the planned merger of Sprint’s WiMAX division with Clearwire.
The FCC filing states that while AT&T “does not fundamentally oppose the underlying transactions,” they do contend that Sprint and Clearwire aren’t receiving all the regulatory scrutiny that they should on the deal.
The complaint adds that Sprint and Clearwire “openly state that they intend to compete with other national wireless providers – including AT&T – yet they fail to make the required showings necessary for the commission’s review.” This refers to AT&T’s contention that the merging companies have de-emphasized some of their spectrum licenses, on the grounds that they’re not currently being used.
A spokesman for Sprint said that the companies have documented for the FCC on a county by county basis how much spectrum they would hold after the merger, and that nearly 50 public entities had filed similar comments in support of the proposed merger.
The Making of a 4G Wireless Company
In May of this year, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire announced plans to combine their wireless broadband units under the Clearwire name, forming a new wireless division with an estimated worth slightly under $15 billion dollars.
The new company will have a stated goal of deploying WiMAX service to cover 120 to 140 million people in the U.S. by 2010.
WiMAX is a 4G standard that will offer wireless data connections considerably faster than current 3G ones. It will compete with LTE, the standard AT&T, Verizon, and other have chosen.
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