T-Mobile USA’s own words are being used
against it by Verizon Wireless, which resurrected comments T-Mobile made during
its failed merger with AT&T to defend its AWS spectrum purchase.
Verizon launched a 14-point attack
against T-Mobile in an ex parte document filed with the FCC
In it, Verizon points out that the
various claims T-Mobile made to defend its merger with AT&T seem to
contradict the reasons it is now giving the FCC for blocking Verizon’s
acquisition of nationwide AWS spectrum from four cable operators.
“T-Mobile cannot continue to have
it both ways, and its attempts to extract competitive advantages during the
transaction review process should be disregarded,” Verizon said.
T-Mobile is one of the few operators to
ask for an outright block of the transaction, claiming it will concentrate too
much spectrum in the hands of a single company. It has not yet filed a rebuttal
to Verizon’s latest comments.
During the government’s review of its
merger with AT&T, T-Mobile was forced to frequently defend the deal against
accusations it would be detrimental to competition. But it has found itself on
the other side of the fence after the merger failed, even joining the Rural
Cellular Association, a vocal opponent to the AT&T buyout.
Verizon attempts to discredit T-Mobile’s
opposition to the AWS deal by detailing its change in course to the FCC.
It pointed out that T-Mobile testified
during the AT&T transaction that the U.S. wireless industry would remain
“fiercely competitive” if its merger with AT&T closed – a transaction
that would have eliminated a major competitor – but later said that if Verizon
was allowed to buy more AWS spectrum, there would be “serious harm to
competition” and to consumer welfare.
“Despite its earlier claims that
the combination of two top-four facilities-based providers would have no impact
on competition in a fiercely competitive marketplace, T-Mobile now argues that
the acquisition of a discrete block of spectrum – and only spectrum – by a
carrier that needs it to meet its customers’ escalating demand for mobile
services will ‘serious[ly] harm’ competition,” Verizon said.
T-Mobile is not the only operator that
has asked the FCC to stop the AWS deal from moving forward. MetroPCS is also on
board, and Sprint has requested the agency “carefully review” the
transaction, though it has stopped short of asking it be blocked.
Sprint, DirecTV and seven other groups
asked the FCC this week to delay its review of the Verizon spectrum sale,
claiming difficulties accessing important documents about the deal. The FCC has
not said whether it will grant the request.