Report: FCC staff recommend approval of AT&T-Centennial deal

FCC staffers have recommended that the commission approve AT&T's $944 million acquisition of Centennial Communications, according to a Bloomberg report. The companies have been urging the FCC to approve the deal, which received regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Justice last month.

AT&T's purchase of Centennial will give the nation's No. 2 carrier around 1.1 million of Centennial's customers in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Great Lakes region and in the Gulf Coast.

The Bloomberg report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said the agency's staff sent the recommendation to the FCC's five commissioners Oct. 30. Conditions to be imposed on AT&T are likely going to be similar to the ones AT&T itself laid out in an Oct. 22 letter to the FCC, according to the report.

In the letter, AT&T said it would honor Centennial's existing roaming agreements with other carriers. The company also said it would operate and maintain a CDMA network in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for 18 months after the deal closes, which was a concern that Sprint Nextel had brought up with the FCC regarding the deal. Further, AT&T promised to limit its contact with America Movil (which operates in Centennial areas and owns reseller TracFone) if it received approval to purchase Centennial--presumably to avoid conflicts of interest.

FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard declined to comment on the report and on when the commissioners might consider the deal. The commissioners can approve, reject or change the staff's recommendation.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this FCC filing

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