Cable Giants' Spectrum Deal With Verizon Nears Regulatory Approval (Report)

Verizon Logo - H - 2011

The wireless company agreed to pay Comcast, Time Warner Cable and two other firms $3.9 billion for airwaves, but the parties had to agree to several conditions.


U.S. regulators are preparing to approve Verizon Wireless' proposed $3.9 billion deal to acquire spectrum from several cable companies, including Comcast Corp., under several conditions, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Verizon agreed to buy airwaves from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications that they had acquired in an auction, but never used. Instead of using the spectrum for their own wireless network, they are looking to use Verizon as a wireless partner.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Journal said the companies have reached an agreement that settles regulators' and critics' antitrust concerns about the deal. For example, the cable companies have agreed to limit the scope of related agreements to sell each other's services and keep them to five years. After that, they would have to apply again for an extension.

Critics had said these agreements could effectively abolish competition between the companies.

To address such concerns, Comcast and Verizon also agreed that the latter's stores won't sell Comcast's Xfinity online video service in regions where Verizon already offers its FiOS TV service.

FCC and Justice Department officials are preparing to approve the spectrum deal in the coming weeks, according to the Journal.

Spokespeople for the Justice Department, the FCC and the companies declined to comment.

Twitter: @georgszalai