YOU ARE AT:WirelessRural operators urge FCC to postpone VZW-Alltel vote

Rural operators urge FCC to postpone VZW-Alltel vote

Small, rural and regional wireless carriers and trade groups said the Federal Communications Commission should not vote Nov. 4 on the Verizon Wireless-Alltel Communications L.L.C. merger before acting on unresolved roaming, spectrum concentration and handset exclusivity issues.
“Approving this merger without debating and addressing those critical issues is not in the public interest and will be anti-competitive and anti-consumer,” the parties stated. “It is equally unacceptable to schedule a vote on the merger and simply defer to a future date the resolution of these critical issues.”
The letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was signed by CEOs of Leap Wireless International Inc., SouthernLINCWireless, LCW Wireless, Mobi PCS, NTELOS Inc. and Revol Wireless and the heads of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies and the Rural Telecommunications Group.
Martin said he wants the agency to approve the $28.1 billion Verizon Wireless-Alltel transaction, subject to the merged entity divesting assets in about 100 markets and honoring roaming agreements between Alltel and other wireless providers. If the deal is approved by the FCC and Justice Department, Verizon Wireless would surpass AT&T Mobility as the largest wireless provider in the country.
Martin blames other commissioners for being unwilling to modify agency’s in-market exception roaming rule. Many small and mid-size carriers, however, want Martin to go even further insofar as extending the automatic roaming mandate to data.
Meantime, the FCC recently asked for public comment on rural cellular carriers’ petition to investigate alleged anticompetitive effects of exclusivity arrangements between national mobile-phone carriers and handset manufacturers.
Yesterday, the group Free Press called on the FCC to impose open access conditions on the pending Verizon Wireless-Alltel and Sprint Nextel Corp.-Clearwire Corp. transactions.

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