FCC to ban Sprint, T-Mobile airwave auction partnering2014-08-05 09:17 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, T-Mobile, Sprint
The FCC could stand in the way of Sprint and T-Mobile banding together to bid in the upcoming broadcast spectrum auction, as part of the agency's plans to give smaller players a chance at the bandwidth.
The announcement comes less than a month after reports tipped a plan by Sprint and T-Mobile to jointly bid $10 billion on spectrum in next year's FCC incentive auction. The two firms are rumored to be in talks about a merger, and would reportedly only enter a joint bid if that deal was still in play.
"Our goal is to promote the participation of as many parties as possible in the auction," Roger Sherman, head of the commission's wireless telecommunications bureau, wrote. "If two of the largest companies are able to bid as one combined entity in the auction, their combined resources may have the effect of suppressing meaningful competition," he added. "Therefore, the item tentatively concludes that joint bidding arrangements between nationwide providers should not be allowed."
T-Mobile and Sprint have reportedly been in talks for months on a potential merger, though nothing official's been announced. Sprint argues that a deal would allow the combined company to better compete against AT&T and Verizon. Perhaps T-Mobile agrees on some level, but so long as it remains independent, it'll be defining its own interests and prioritizing them over Sprint's.
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