The top telecom story of the week has to be the Federal Communication Commission's release of a redacted version of its preliminary report that could essentially send the AT&T (NYSE: T ) / T-Mobile merger into oblivion.
The FCC report shoots down the benefit claims that AT&T says will occur from its proposal. Here are the essentials:
|Would not be anti-competitive.||"raises significant competitive concerns" and "material questions of fact."|
|Would lower wireless prices.||"their claim that the proposed transaction would result in lower wireless industry prices is flawed ."|
|Would create synergies that would lower costs.||"[If synergies are realized] ... would likely result in reduced service quality."|
|Would create 96,000 new jobs.||"We cannot find that the transaction would lead to a net increase in U.S.-based jobs."|
AT&T took grave offense, saying the FCC "document lacks all credibility."
High noon at the Clearwire corral
Clearwire's (Nasdaq: CLWR ) game of brinksmanship paid off yesterday, as its alleged (and thinly veiled) ploy to pressure Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) into extending their 4G networking partnership worked.
Two weeks ago, Clearwire's CEO, Erik Prusch, told The Wall Street Journal his company may miss paying a $237 million interest payment that was due on Dec. 1. Sprint had been stringing Clearwire along, not committing to the contract extension that Clearwire needed for its survival.
Well, Prusch's game of chicken worked: Sprint blinked and signed deals with Clearwire worth about $1.6 billion. Clearwire made the interest payment. Crisis averted ... for now.
A WIN WIN situation
Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN ) made it over the last of its hurdles and completed its purchase of the competitive local exchange carrier PAETEC. There was a bit of glitch in the deal going forward after the proposal was announced last summer. Some PAETEC shareholders contemplated suing the company's board of directors for accepting too low of a bid. A settlement was finally released in October, and the FCC gave its blessing on Tuesday.
This was the largest of Windstream's eight acquisitions since the company was formed in 2006.
Verizon's spectrum collection grows
And today, Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) announced a deal to buy $3.6 billion worth of nationwide spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo. That company was formed as a joint venture between Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) , Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC ) , and Brighthouse Networks in order to -- as the name suggests -- invest in wireless spectrum.
The deal covers 122 licenses and 259 million potential customers. SpectrumCo paid $2.4 billion for the spectrum at a 2006 FCC auction.
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