Merger to Affect WiMAX-Based Network Development

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved, with conditions, the transfer of control of licenses held by Sprint-Nextel Corp. and Clearwire Corp. to New Clearwire Corp. The FCC expects the merger to facilitate nationwide WiMAX-based network development that will lead to increased competition, greater consumer choice and new, innovative wireless services.

In analyzing these applications, the FCC examined the market for various services and concluded the companies had demonstrated the transaction would be in the public interest with no competitive harm identified in any market.

In its analysis, the FCC revised the spectrum aggregation portion of the initial competitive screen, replacing the previous nationwide screen with a market-specific screen. To the extent that advanced wireless services and certain broadband radio service (BRS) spectrums are available in a particular market, along with cellular, specialized mobile radio, broadband personal communications services, and 700 MHz spectrum, in the particular initial spectrum screen applied to that market. This change more accurately reflects the current availability of spectrum in each particular market and will continue to promote competition.

The FCC conditioned its approval of this transaction on Sprint-Nextel’s compliance with a voluntary commitment to phase out its requests for federal high-cost universal service support over a five-year transition period and with a voluntary commitment to use counties for measuring compliance with the FCC’s wireless E911 location accuracy rules governing handset-based technologies.

The licenses, leases and authorizations transferred in this transaction include BRS, educational broadband service, point-to-point microwave and local multipoint distribution service.

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