The Freeland File
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Playboy model steals the show at Mexican election debate
07 May 2012
Boy, 11, Pees on $36,000 Worth of MacBooks
01 May 2012
John Travolta sued for sexual battery by masseur
07 May 2012
California seller of suicide kits sentenced for tax offense
07 May 2012
Anti-austerity ballot backlash rattles euro zone
07 May 2012
One in seven thinks end of world is coming: poll
April hiring seen picking up
Berkshire profits double as insurance losses fall
Hungry zoo lion faces off with unfazed toddler
Thu, May 3 2012
U.S. foils airline 'bomb plot'
Mon, May 7 2012
"The Avengers" breaks a record, Lohan off the hook
Sun, May 6 2012
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Walking amongst us are the superheroes, whether they're for voting, promoting or protesting. Slideshow
The "Run for Your Lives" race has runners facing obstacles while being chased by zombies. Slideshow
Union warns Verizon cable deal could end competition
Exclusive: Icahn sells LightSquared debt, creditors extend talks: sources
Sun, May 6 2012
Falcone gets extension in LightSquared creditor talks
Mon, Apr 30 2012
UPDATE 3-MetroPCS looks to smartphones for growth
Thu, Apr 26 2012
Sprint's bottom line beats Street estimates
Wed, Apr 25 2012
Rivals seek delay of Verizon cable deal review
Tue, Apr 24 2012
Analysis & Opinion
More Apple antitrust woes: CEO, directors at hub of poaching case
Previewing e-books defense: No price-fixing, no harm to readers
File photo of a striking Verizon worker in front of a Verizon wireless store in New York, August 15, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
By Jasmin Melvin
Mon May 7, 2012 11:35pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Allowing proposed multibillion-dollar airwave deals between Verizon Wireless and several cable operators could mean the end of a competitive telecommunications landscape, saddling consumers with higher prices and diminished choice, the largest union for telecoms workers told U.S. regulators.
Communications Workers of America has been a vociferous opponent of Verizon Wireless's plan to buy about $3.9 billion worth of wireless airwaves from cable companies including Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N).
The union met with Federal Communications Commission staff last Thursday and sent a 16-page filing to the agency late Monday detailing its worries over the deals that it has argued would create allies out of former rivals, to the detriment of consumers.
Debbie Goldman, CWA's telecommunications policy director, told Reuters that the alliance between the nation's largest wireless carrier and the top cable companies would essentially end competition in the telecommunications arena.
"The detail of how it will do that is in these commercial agreements that are behind a firewall that the public cannot see," Goldman said of the largely redacted documents submitted to the FCC for review by Verizon Wireless and the cable operators.
Marketing agreements accompanying the spectrum sale would create a joint entity and allow the cable operators to resell Verizon's mobile service as part of the deals.
Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (VZ.N) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L).
Verizon Wireless has said it strongly believes the deals are in the public interest, and it has worked to ensure the FCC has the data it needs to make an informed decision.
CWA stressed to FCC staff that the commercial agreements and resulting joint entity were intertwined with the spectrum sale, and it would be artificial to separate them from the public interest review.
Goldman said these deals would have far greater implications for competition, jobs and network investment than if AT&T Inc's (T.N) $39 billion bid for Deutsche Telekom AG's (DTEGn.DE) T-Mobile USA had been allowed. That deal fell apart late last year due to strong regulatory opposition from the FCC and Justice Department.
The marketing agreements, according to Goldman, would allow collusion between the parties in such a way that would give them the market power to dominate video, broadband, voice and wireless service.
This would end competition between Verizon and the cable companies and eliminate Verizon's incentive to expand its rival Fios network for high-speed Internet, she said.
Verizon rivals Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N), T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications (PCS.N), have all complained to the FCC about the bigger company's cable deal on concerns that it would give too much market power to the already dominant company.
CWA told the FCC that approval of the deals would have to come with conditions to protect and preserve the current competitive market.
Among those conditions, CWA said, should be a commitment to expand Fios, a mandate against cross-marketing services within the Verizon footprint and assurances that competitors would have the same access to the services and intellectual property shared between Verizon Wireless and the cable operators.
A decision by the FCC on the deals is not expected until August this year, and the Justice Department is also probing the deals for any antitrust concerns.
(Reporting By Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
Related Quotes and News
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.