SoftBank‘s intention of purchasing a 70% stake in Sprint is one of the month’s bigger news stories (at least so far), so it’s no wonder that today we’re seeing other carriers coming out and stating some issues they have with the proposed acquisition. One of these carriers is AT&T, which is warning FCC regulators today to closely examine this buyout and its potential consequences. Specifically, AT&T seems concerned over the fact that SoftBank acquiring Sprint means that SoftBank will also take control of Clearwire, giving it a large amount of wireless spectrum.
AT&T vice president Brad Burns voiced the company’s concerns in a rather short and succinct statement. At the same time, AT&T manages to voice its concerns without making any whiny demands, presumably because the carrier could use this buyout to its advantage should it be approved by the FCC. Have a look at it below:
Softbank’s acquisition of Sprint and the control it gains over Clearwire will give one of Japan’s largest wireless companies control of significantly more U.S. wireless spectrum than any other company. We expect that fact and others will be fully explored in the regulatory review process. This is one more example of a very dynamic and competitive U.S. wireless marketplace, which is an important fact for U.S. regulators to recognize.
Of course, AT&T hasn’t forgotten the fact that FCC didn’t approve the company’s proposed buyout of T-Mobile, so it’s easy to see why AT&T feels the need to make this statement. It isn’t as if companies making these kinds of warning statements when a major acquisition is in the pipeline is anything new, either – as AT&T said, this acquisition would give SoftBank a significant amount of US spectrum, which would make it that much harder for the carrier to get ahead in the highly competitive mobile market.
Whether or not the FCC will pay attention to AT&T’s precautionary statement is another thing entirely, though. You can bet that the FCC will already be closely examining the sale, however, just as we can be sure that other mobile companies will soon be coming out of the woodwork to voice their own displeasure with the Sprint buyout. Stay tuned, because things will definitely be getting much more interesting soon