Verizon, Comcast Airwaves Accord Wins Antitrust Approval
By Sara Forden and Todd Shields – Aug 16, 2012 10:34 AM ET.
The U.S. Justice Department allowed Verizon Wireless’s purchase of unused airwaves from Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and other cable companies to go forward on conditions that limit the companies’ agreements to sell each other’s services.
The decision by antitrust regulators leaves final approval of the $3.6 billion deal between the biggest U.S. cable and wireless companies to regulators at the Federal Communications Commission.
“By limiting the scope and duration of the commercial agreements among Verizon and the cable companies while at the same time allowing Verizon and T-Mobile to proceed with their spectrum acquisitions, the department has provided the right remedy for competition and consumers,” Joseph Wayland, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the department’s antitrust division, said in a statement.
Randal Milch, executive vice president and general counsel with Verizon Communications Inc., testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about its proposed $3.6 billion purchase of airwaves from cable companies. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Verizon, Comcast and its partners, Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), Bright House Networks LLC, and Cox Communications Inc., agreed to restrict the scope of cross-marketing agreements and limit the duration to December 2016 to ensure that they still have incentives to compete against one another, the Justice Department said in the statement.
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