Kathleen O'Brien Ham, Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs, T-Mobile USA
Understanding the intricacies of U.S. wireless regulation is not an easy task, but it's one that Kathleen O'Brien Ham appears to master. Just last year, she was involved in one of the biggest regulatory battles of her career when AT&T (NYSE:T) decided to try to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion.
Although that deal failed to pass regulatory muster, Ham is back in the mix working closely with regulators to push T-Mobile's plan to swap a substantial amount of AWS spectrum with Verizon Wireless. The deal is contingent upon the approval of Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) $3.9 billion proposed purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo (a joint venture of cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks) and Cox Communications.
T-Mobile initially was opposed to Verizon's proposed purchase of AWS spectrum from the cable companies because of the spectrum concentration Verizon would achieve. T-Mobile's reversal is significant, and Ham was quoted by Politico as saying it was a win for both Verizon and T-Mobile. "We reached an agreement that resolves our concerns that we think is pro-competitive," she told Politico. "It's a good result."
The spectrum included in the swap covers 218 markets across the country, and both Verizon and T-Mobile have said the deal will help their respective LTE network rollouts.
Ham is well-prepared for regulatory battles such as this. She spent 14 years with the FCC serving as a senior attorney in the private radio and mass media bureau before moving to legal adviser to the chief of the Commercial Wireless Division. During her tenure at the FCC she was also the first chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's auctions and industry analysis department, and served as deputy chief of both the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.
- 3Kathleen O'Brien Ham, Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs, T-Mobile USA