Verizon's Mead presses Genachowski on getting cable companies' spectrum

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is stepping up its lobbying campaign to gain regulatory approval for its purchase of AWS spectrum from cable companies, with CEO Dan Mead meeting personally with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to press the carrier's case.

Verizon CEO Dan Mead

Mead

According to a filing released Friday, Mead and two senior Verizon executives met with Genachowski and his staff March 14. During the meeting, Verizon executives discussed the need for more spectrum due to rising data demands and the increased usage of data-capable devices. "We explained that Verizon Wireless employs efficiency-enhancing techniques such as cell-splitting, small cells, and Wi-Fi offloading to address capacity constraints, but these engineering solutions are insufficient by themselves to meet burgeoning demand," Verizon wrote in its filing.

The meeting between Mead and Genachowski comes days ahead of a Senate hearing on the deals. The Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on antitrust issues will hold a hearing Wednesday. Witnesses at the event will include Randal Milch, the general counsel of Verizon Communications; David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast; and Steve Berry, the president of the Rural Cellular Association.

Verizon is clearly continuing to press its case that acquiring the spectrum from the cable companies will address an urgent need in demand. In a recent FCC filing, Bill Stone, Verizon's executive director of network strategy, said that Verizon's current spectrum holdings "will not provide sufficient capacity to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband--4G, in particular--by 2013 in some areas and by 2015 in many more." Only around 5 percent of Verizon's customer base currently uses LTE services, but the company is rapidly trying to migrate as many customers to LTE as possible.

However, the FCC has said it requires more detail on Verizon's data projections. The agency asked Verizon to provide more details on its expectations for data traffic growth rates over the next few years; all of Verizon's plans and analyses for the migration of CDMA customers to LTE; and a detailed explanation of why Verizon expects to reach its capacity limits on its LTE network starting in 2013 in some areas and in many more areas in 2015. The FCC also wants more details on how Verizon plans to use its current 700 MHz and AWS spectrum holdings.

For more:
- see this filing

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