Verizon's McAdam: AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile will happen
ASPEN, Colo.--If Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) COO Lowell McAdam was a betting man, he'd bet that AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA will be approved.
At Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference here, McAdam said he believes the merger will be approved and that Verizon's primary worry is that the government could place restrictions on AT&T (NYSE:T) that may impact his company. "AT&T needs the spectrum and is motivated enough to [acquire T-Mobile] and will agree with what the government will want. We don't know how that will affect us," McAdam said.
He also used event as an opportunity to chastise the government's current spectrum policy, which he believes encourages companies to hold onto spectrum and then sell it for more money. "There is spectrum out there but it's in the wrong hands," he said, noting the the FCC auctioned AWS spectrum in 2006 but didn't require winners to build out networks until 2021. "It doesn't do any good sitting on a shelf somewhere," McAdam said, adding that the FCC's designated entity policy (which gives preference to small, women and minority-owned businesses that want to participate in auctions) encourages people to buy spectrum, hold it and then sell it a few years later.
McAdam also said he believes that Verizon is adhering to all aspects of the FCC's net neutrality policy. However, he said the carrier does need to monitor network traffic. He added that the company's recent unveiling of its tiered data pricing plans for its wireless network shows that the company is open to letting people use as much network capacity as they want, as long as they are willing to pay for it. "We are in the business of moving traffic, and that is what we will do," he added.
McAdam also touted the company's LTE service. He said Verizon's LTE device lineup in the fourth quarter will be "as strong, if not stronger" than the company's current 3G device lineup. He said Verizon is testing more than 80 different LTE devices in its newly opened Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass.
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