Welcome to this week's episode of SmartWatch, brought to you by SanDisk. Although the FCC has given its blessing to AT&T's purchase of Leap Wireless, the Commission indicated in a filing that it “remain[s] concerned about the potential for the proposed transaction to result in certain public interest harms.” In this week's SmartWatch we run down just exactly what the FCC requiires of AT&T to make good on the deal. We also catch up with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson about his plans for the prepaid market.
Regarding the purchase of Leap, AT&T has agreed to certain caveats in order to cool the FCC’s lingering skepticism. AT&T has agreed to the divesture of some of Leap’s spectrum assets in some markets to ensure competitors have access to spectrum. AT&T has also agreed to a 90 days to 12 months timetable from the date of closure for deploying LTE services on Leap’s unused spectrum. AT&T additionally agreed to build out LTE coverage for six markets in south Texas within 18 months of closing the deal.
On top of that, AT&T has agreed to offer lower rates for value-conscious and Lifeline customers, device trade-in credits prior to shutting down Leap’s CDMA network and to honor existing CDMA roaming agreements. AT&T also plans to sell off Leap’s interest in Flat Wireless and not exercise any shareholder rights within that company before the stake is sold.