AT&T has reiterated its opposition to the New Clearwire deal that involves a merger with Sprint's WiMAX business and cash infusion from Intel, Google and cable operators. The country's largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers is again accusing the stakeholders of providing inconsistent details on how much usable spectrum the new entity will have and reiterated that it wants the FCC to scrutinize the deal like it would other carrier deals.
AT&T said the stakeholders "claim before the commission that they really have only 55.5 MHz of usable spectrum for competitive evaluation purposes while simultaneously claiming before the investment community and the Securities and Exchange Commission that their spectrum holdings will be at least three times that size." Given this "pattern of double-speak," the notion that the FCC does not need to conduct a review of the deal is "simply unconvincing," AT&T said.
AT&T also threw some shots at Google. It criticized the search giant for lobbying for open access restrictions during the 700 MHz auction but now "allowing market forces to determine the manner in which Clearwire should offer its services." Google's strategy is to "game the regulatory system to tie down other market participants with regulatory encumbrances while leaving its own networks and lines of business unregulated," the company said.
Sprint made a filing last week, slamming AT&T's claims. It said AT&T's objection was a "transparent attempt to use the commission's spectrum screen to hamstring prospective competition to AT&T." Sprint further argued that the 2.5 GHz band is not in the same category as PCS, cellular and 700 MHz bands that are subject to the FCC's merger criteria. But AT&t argued that the New Clearwire will indeed compete with 4G players in the 700 MHz band.
Google has made its own filing urging the FCC to ignore those filers who rather keep their market position than see a new strong broadband competitor. It was obviously an attack on AT&T. Not surprisingly, Intel and Motorola support the New Clearwire deal.
- check out PC Magazine
Sprint/Clearwire to AT&T: public in favor of JV. Sprint/Clearwire story
AT&T asks FCC to deny Sprint-Clearwire merger. AT&T story