Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:41am
AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the two biggest U.S. mobile-phone carriers, have joined a grassroots alliance of police and firefighters to oppose a government plan that could award disputed airwaves to smaller competitors.
The phone companies want Congress to give the airwaves to public-safety agencies for communications instead. That would derail a Federal Communications Commission plan for an auction and keep the spectrum out of the hands of potential bidders such as Sprint Nextel Corp. and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile. "This is all about AT&T and Verizon trying to keep their spectrum advantage," Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, a Washington-based advocacy group, said. AT&T and Verizon were the biggest winners in a 2008 airwaves auction. The FCC may bar the two companies from bidding in the name of providing consumers more choices, Feld said. A new auction would raise as much as $4 billion.
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