Verizon Wireless is one step closer to finalizing a deal to purchase up to $3.9 billion worth of wireless spectrum from Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks. The US Justice Department gave the deal its stamp of approval although not without requiring some modifications to protect consumers from higher prices.
The Justice Department noted than an unaltered deal could ultimately hinder quality and result in higher costs. This all comes after an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission as to whether or not a transfer of spectrum would abide by antitrust laws. The FCC still has the final say-so before the deal is complete.
The deal, first announced by Verizon in December 2011, consists of 122 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) licenses covering 259 million POPs that will allow them to expand service to more customers. Furthermore, cable providers will be allowed to market their products in Verizon retail stores with customers likely being offered discounts to bundle cable, Internet, home phone and cell phone usage into one package.
The Justice Department will also prohibit Verizon from selling TV and broadband services from cable companies in areas where Verizon already markets their own television and Internet service. A five-year limit will be placed on co-marketing agreements in other areas with parties being able to apply to extend the deal when it expires.
Verizon has also agreed to sell some of the spectrum to 4th ranked T-Mobile, a company that currently only has a limited amount of spectrum.