Originally published: May 8, 2012
Last updated: May 8, 2012 - 8:20pm
Verizon Wireless’s $3.6 billion plan to buy airwaves from cable providers has raised concerns with US regulators that the purchase may harm competition in the wireless market, three people familiar with the matter said.
The Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department are examining whether the acquisition would make it harder for Verizon’s rivals to expand wireless networks, said Steven K. Berry, chief executive officer of the Rural Cellular Association, an opponent of the deal, and two other people who weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The government concerns may prolong reviews of a purchase that analysts initially predicted would be approved easily, said Paul Gallant, a Washington-based analyst with Guggenheim Partners. Verizon, the largest U.S. mobile provider, may have to sell off airwaves to satisfy the government, he said. “The deal is more likely than not to get approved with some additional concessions,” he said. The regulators are examining whether competition will be hurt by Verizon acquiring airwaves that it doesn’t plan to immediately use, said Berry and the two people who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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