Sprint Asks FCC to Transfer Licenses to Softbank as Part of Merger Plan
NEWS ANALYSIS: Sprint has asked the Federal Communications Commission to grant authority for the mobile carrier to transfer its licenses to Softbank as it proceeds to sell most of itself to Japanese wireless giant.Sprint Nextel has requested that the Federal Communications Commission to approve the transfer of its wireless licenses to Softbank, the Japanese wireless giant that’s announced its intentions to buy 70 percent of Sprint in a $20 billion dollar deal. The transfer of licenses is necessary because Softbank would own controlling interest in Sprint. In addition, Softbank would need FCC approval of the transfer because it’s a foreign corporation that would own more than the normally permitted 25 percent. In addition, Sprint has asked for transfer of Sprint’s prospective interest in Clearwire’s licenses in advance of the completion of Sprint’s purchase of a controlling interest in Clearwire of more than 50 percent ownership. Effectively, Softbank would control Clearwire because it would own Sprint. In a public interest statement filed on Nov. 15 with the FCC, Sprint said that the merger and the transfer of licenses would create no competitive harm to the wireless market since Softbank currently has no other interests in the US wireless market.
“It offers the potential to transform the U.S. wireless marketplace by creating a more vibrant rival to compete with today’s two predominant wireless providers, Verizon Wireless and AT&T,” the company said in its statement to the FCC.