Last updated: May 11, 2012 - 8:30am
AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said Washington needs to figure out how to clear a regulatory logjam that’s hampering wireless growth and forcing companies to raise prices.
The industry is waiting for the Federal Communications Commission to decide on Verizon Wireless’s proposed $3.6 billion partnership with cable companies, including Comcast. The review of that agreement, announced in December, is holding up related deals for spectrum by AT&T and others, Stephenson said. “The industry is just kind of stuck and we’re all sitting here watching Verizon-Comcast waiting to see what happens,” Stephenson said. “You have got to make sure we put spectrum in the market. They need to become liquid spectrum markets.” Stephenson said that distributing spectrum among competitors who can’t use it efficiently doesn’t help. The government either has to let companies pool their spectrum or risk pushing underperforming companies out of business, he said. “The industry is going to consolidate whether you like it or not,” he said. “If you don’t allow consolidation, some companies will go away.”