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AT & T, Qualcomm Oppose Consolidation of Spectrum Bids

Thu, 06/23/2011 - 8:21am
Andrew Berg

AT&T and Qualcomm today filed a motion opposing a previous joint motion by Cincinnati Bell Wireless, MetroPCS, NTELOS, the Rural Cellular Association, the Rural Telecommunications Group and Sprint Nextel to consolidate AT&T's recent flurry of proposed spectrum acquisitions into one proposal.

The joint motion by the groups proposes that the FCC consolidate AT&T's proposed purchase of 44 licenses of 700 MHz spectrum from eight smaller holders, with the carrier's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

In today's filing, AT&T and Qualcomm argue that the eight proceedings that the joint parties now propose for consolidation have nothing to do with either the AT&T/Qualcomm or AT&T/T-Mobile transactions.

The motion casts the other eight filings as not "even mildly controversial," adding that to date, no actual petitions to deny these transactions have been filed with the FCC.

Petitioners in the joint motion to consolidate said that reviewing the transactions "in an uncoordinated, serial manner" would "mask their collective impact on the public interest as well as their close relationship to the Qualcomm and T-Mobile applications."

AT&T and Qualcomm returned fire, claiming that tying these smaller acquisitions to the more contentious Qualcomm and T-Mobile deals would prevent unnecessary delays in the acquisition of smaller holdings, some of which included spectrum in amounts less than 1GHz.

"Indeed, this case illustrates well the need to consider individual transactions in an individual manner," wrote AT&T and Qualcomm in today's filing, adding that "such an open-ended consolidation process serves no purpose and will undermine the public interest by undermining well-settled precedent and expectations regarding the FCC's review process and by delaying the realization of the public interest benefits of multiple transactions."

In a separate motion, T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, also filed a motion opposing the joint motion to consolidate. AT&T and Qualcomm asked that the FCC dismiss the motion to consolidate immediately.

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