Verizon has been given the go-ahead from the FCC to purchase the stake UK carrier Vodafone has in the company. The largest US carrier is expected to spend a massive $130 billion to regain sole control. Vodafone currently has a 45% stake in the company, leaving the remainder to Verizon.
This is the first transaction under new FCC guidelines, meant to “reduce red tape and facilitate international investment in U.S. wireless networks”. Once complete, new rules prohibit Verizon from having more than 25% of the company in foreign control, and no foreign shareholder may have more than a 5% interest in the carrier. As part of the deal, Verizon also agrees to distribute Verizon stock to current Vodafone shareholders.
International Bureau chief Mindel De La Torre said “This is an excellent example of the type of process reform the FCC is seeking to accomplish.” He went on to note that the International Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology all acted swiftly in this case. The new guidelines are meant for such matters, eliminating long waits and stodgy rules from bogging the process down.
What does this mean for consumers? Nothing, really, other than Verizon will no longer have a foreign entity with a voice. They can now adjudicate their programs and focus clearly, and should be able to act a little more nimbly should they need/want to. For us, it just means Verizon will forge ahead on the same path, perhaps at an improved pace.