Concerns About Anti-Competitive Factors Remain

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-06-25 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


She said that it€™s about the agreement by Verizon and the cable companies not to compete. €œThe deal is a far-reaching non-compete agreement between two huge competitors,€ Mark said in her statement. €œWhile it's nice that Verizon will cede a small portion of its vast spectrum holdings to T-Mobile, that does nothing to mitigate the fact that Verizon and Cable want to stop competing, stop investing, and stop innovating to the great detriment of consumers and the American economy.€

Cathy Sloan, vice president of Government Relations for the Computer & Communications Industry Association told eWEEK that most observers had expected a spectrum divestiture from Verizon Wireless as a condition of the FCC€™s approval of the cable company spectrum deal.  But she said that a number of other issues are really a lot more important, including WiFi offload, especially in urban areas where cable companies could provide data services, but favor some carriers€™ phones over others. She also noted that the CCIA was concerned about backhaul services, since nearly all of those service are provided by AT&T and Verizon, the two largest players in the wireless space.

For the Communications Workers of American, the concern is all about jobs. According to a statement released by the CWA, the €œVerizon Wireless-Big Cable proposal€ would allow Verizon and the cable companies to agree not to compete with each other.

€œThe threat of job loss and higher consumer prices from the proposed Verizon Wireless-Big Cable deal remains, even if today's announcement resolves some of the FCC's concerns about one piece of the agreement," said Debbie Goldman, telecommunications policy director for the CWA in a prepared statement.

"The CWA€”along with major consumer groups and elected officials€”continues to voice concerns with federal regulators about the monopolistic cross-marketing arrangement and urges regulators to put conditions on this deal to ensure it is in the public interest.€

€œVerizon has cut 14,750 jobs of frontline wireline workers in the eight states and Washington, D.C., in its East Cost landline footprint since 2010, and the proposed deal would cost more jobs as the company loses the incentive to expand its FiOS service to new areas,€ the CWA noted in its statement.

In reality, the Verizon deal with the cable companies consists of two only slightly related issues. One is spectrum availability and concentration of spectrum by one company. The other issue is whether that deal necessarily includes the agreement not to compete or whether the spectrum deal between Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and the cable companies is separate from any cross-marketing deal and its possible effect on competition. At this point, no one has presented conclusive evidence that they are necessarily linked despite the concerns. But this is one issue that the U.S. Department of Justice needs to sort out.



 
 
 
 
Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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