Verizon Wireless has stated that it is willing to sell some parts of its radio spectrum in exchange for purchasing additional wireless spectrum licenses from cable companies. The company plans to sell its coveted 700 MHz spectrum only if the FCC approves its pending purchase of $3.6 billion worth of spectrum from an assortment of cable companies that include Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright house Networks.
Verizon had purchased a large quantity of spectrum in 2008 in a $9.4 billion deal that gave the company 109 licenses in the 700 MHz band. The spectrum acquired had been in the A, B and C blocks. Verizon has disclosed that it has used the upper level of the C block in order to deploy its 4G LTE network nationwide and now plans to rely on cable- owned spectrum to continue LTE expansion. As a result, the 700 MHz spectrum in the A and B bands are going to be sold by the company to the highest bidder. Verizon has made it clear that its sale of spectrum is contingent upon FCC approval of its cable deal.
Molly Feldman, V.P of Business Development for Verizon Wireless stated that “since wireless operators, large and small, have expressed concern about the availability of high-quality spectrum, we believe our 700-MHz licenses will be attractive to a wide range of buyers.”
Though this might be the case, smaller carriers across the nation like T- Mobile and Sprint have lodged complaints with the FCC that Verizon’s cable deal is a “clear threat to competition” as it would put a significant chunk of available spectrum into Verizon’s hands. Verizon has consistently defended its spectrum sale and potential cable purchase by stating that smaller carriers who are worried about a lack of spectrum can purchase Verizon’s to augment their own networks. Verizon’s cable deal is still under analysis by the FCC and the Department of Justice and the company expects that the process of review should be concluded by mid- summer.