Sprint voices roaming concerns in AT&T-Centennial deal

Sprint Nextel asked the FCC to require AT&T keep in place CDMA roaming agreements in Puerto Rico for at least 18 months as part of AT&T's still-pending $944 million purchase of Centennial Communications. The FCC is still reviewing the deal, the approval of which has dragged on longer than AT&T had initially expected.

In a filing with the FCC, Sprint made it clear it is not trying to prevent or delay AT&T's conversion of Centennial's CDMA network AT&T's GSM technology, but that it wants AT&T to maintain enough spectrum in Puerto Rico to support CDMA roaming while Sprint makes other arrangements.

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 two companies now expect the deal to close early in the fourth quarter, a delay of several months from initial expectations.

Sprint said that, should AT&T decide to shut down Centennial's CDMA network and refuse to honor its CDMA roaming agreements in Puerto Rico, Sprint would look for other CDMA roaming partners, and agreements with those partners would take at least 18 months to put into place. If Sprint could not find a roaming partner, the carrier would require longer than 18 months to address coverage issues, according to the filing.  

For more:
- see this Sprint Connection post
- see this FCC filing

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