FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Thursday said the agency's review of the Sprint Nextel and Clearwire joint venture is one of the top-priority items it has to deal with during the remaining months of the Bush administration and that the commission's goal is to finish its work on the pending merger before the end of the year.
For Sprint and Clearwire, which have targeted a year-end close to the transaction and assured investors that the process is moving ahead on schedule, the FCC's assertion that it is determined to complete this review during the quarter will be considered positive news and an additional indication the companies should be able to meet their deadline.
Earlier this month, Clearwire CFO John Butler said the companies believed they were making good progress presenting their case to the FCC, where some cellular carriers, most notably AT&T, have opposed the deal, and he said he was optimistic the merger would be on the FCC docket soon. Comcast, which is a partner in the new Clearwire, has also promised a fourth-quarter close.
Verizon's pending acquisition of Alltel, which is also awaiting approval by the FCC, will be reviewed by year-end as well, Martin said.
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