Remember back in December when Verizon announced its plans to buy a truckload of spectrum licenses from several cable companies? T-Mobile does, and they're not happy about it. The fourth-largest US carrier told the FCC that the deal would allow Verizon to "accumulate even more spectrum on top of an already dominant position."
Verizon fired back with the time-honored legal defense of "Well, why not? Nobody else is using it!" In a response to the filing, Verizon claimed that the deal would make use of spectrum that is currently going unutilized by the cable companies. The FCC currently has the goal of ensuring spectrum is utilized as efficiently as possible, so Verizon's response is appropriately laced with an "Isn't this what you wanted us to do?" tone.
The timing of T-Mobile's response shouldn't go unnoticed, though. Verizon first announced their deal to acquire spectrum back on December 2nd. Back then, T-Mobile still had the faintest hope of being acquired by AT&T. Or, at the very least, hadn't announced the deal would be scrapped. One has to wonder why T-Mobile waited this long to speak up.
Still, potential hypocrisy aside, T-Mobile could have a point. Verizon already has a very dominant position when it comes to spectrum holdings, and purchasing more spectrum would be a crushing blow to smaller competitors. Remember, spectrum is a finite resource. T-Mobile is already facing trouble getting their own LTE network up to snuff, their consolation prize from the failed AT&T deal notwithstanding. With even less unused spectrum to invest in, T-Mobile could be up the creek if this deal goes through.
T-Mobile isn't the only one that's unhappy with the deal, either. MetroPCS, the US's fifth-largest carrier also asked the FCC to block the deal, saying that neither Verizon nor the cable companies had provided enough information to prove the acquisition was in the public's best interest. Sprint also spoke up, not to ask the FCC to block the deal per se, but to at least take a good long look at the deal before approving it.
Part of the deal between Verizon and the cable companies would also include cross-promoting each other's services. This means that in the future you'll start to see ads and hear sales pitches for Comcast services in Verizon stores. By "the future" we mean "the past", that is, since Verizon has already started some of the cross-promotion in their stores already, under the assumption the deal will go through.
Verizon hopes to close the deal by mid-2012, so we'll probably hear something from regulators in the next few months.