Last updated: August 17, 2012 - 7:53am
[Commentary] The Department of Justice says Verizon can go ahead with its $3.6-billion purchase of wireless spectrum from the cable industry, but not without some tweaks to help protect consumers from telecom behemoths becoming too cozy.
Specifically, the DOJ said that it's placing limits on sales of cable services at Verizon Wireless stores — a move that had appeared to relegate Verizon's own TV and Internet offerings to the back burner and make the market less competitive. I'm not a told-you-so kind of guy, but this is exactly what I warned of in a column last month questioning how this deal worked in consumers' best interest, not to mention how downplaying the company's own services was good for Verizon shareholders. William Petersen, general counsel of Verizon Wireless, said good times are ahead for consumers. "We now believe the consumer benefits of the transaction will be promptly realized, and look forward to the conclusion of the FCC review so that we can move forward with meeting the unprecedented consumer demand" for wireless and broadband services, he said. Cable providers, of course, are thrilled. They now are a few billion dollars richer and have a new sales channel in Verizon Wireless stores. Perhaps such blatantly anti-competitive behavior was to be expected. Consolidation has been the norm in the telecom industry for years.
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