back to article Verizon spectrum deal savaged in Senate hearing

Critics of Verizon's proposed spectrum-acquisition deal have told a congressional hearing that if the deal is approved, the effect will be disasterous for competition, consumers, rural communities, and of course, today's favorite political football: jobs. "Verizon, in its filings at the Commission, suggests its gain of spectrum …

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I don't see the issue

So Verizon gets the Spectrum. Meanwhile US consumers see three new mobile cos on mainstreet with coverage as good as Verizon - Verizon must battle its partners for the retail dollar, pushing prices for consumers lower. Verizon and their new MVNOs get a better network for their customers. The only losers I see is the other mobile phone cos who have more competition.

Looks like a win for consumers.

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Holmes

"Demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

"But Wall Street doesn't own the spectrum for which Verizon wants to acquire licences. The public does. And so any deal such as this one – joint agreements included – should be structured to benefit the owners of the property being licenced."

Well...

"The public" owns nothing. Spectrum is not even a property (can I steal it from you?). The one who "controls it" is some guy sitting in a federal office building. He writes the right-to-use contract, then money flows into coffers at the treasury from whence it goes to unspecified stuff. Some of which are really, really bad for the supposed "owner".

"The public" can only benefit if someone actually offers that spectrum for use and the devices that use that spectrum are available. Whether the situation that ultimately develops is good, acceptable or plain bad is rather hard, if not impossible, to decide as one unfortunately has no way to observe alternate realities in which different decisions were taken.

"We know that both Verizon and Comcast, as well as the other cable companies, believe that they are acting in the best interest of their own businesses and shareholders. Yet, we need to ensure that consumers' best interests will be served in the long run."

But one cannot know how to do that. It probably won't happen by giving a carrier an exclusive license to a spectrum band that they may not use though. But it will not happen by listening to unions either.

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Re: "Demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

""The public" owns nothing. Spectrum is not even a property (can I steal it from you?)."

Actually, the entire country and all its assets belong to its government. This is true just about everywhere. That's why rights like eminent domain still have effect: because all "private" property is actually held in trust at the pleasure of the government to which you are subject.

And yes, spectrum CAN be stolen. That's what interference is: useable spectrum lost to something else. Ask the CBers who found their spectrum lost to RF-emitting Powerline Ethernet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

ultimately, we are not subjects of our government in the USA. despite what you and even a certain percentage of US citizens have been led to believe. you and a lot of others will figure that out soon enough.

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FAIL

Re: "Demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

Charles 9

Incorrect! All assets belong to the people; and the government is allowed to hold certain assets in trust, at the pleasure of, and for the benefit of the people. No we are not "subject" to the government; we allow ourselves to function under guidelines provided by government [until such time as those guidelines mutate into intractable enforcement].

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There are MVNOs...

...and there are MVNOs. MVNOs tend to get restricted by the original provider. Sprint (Boost, Virgin) and T-Mobile (SimpleMobile, Walmart) MNVOs seem to have some leeway in being able to offer rates and remain competitive while others appear so restricted that they're no better than the original provider (example: I've yet to see an AT&T MVNO with better rates than AT&T itself).

There's also the matter of spectrum hoarding. I sometimes wonder if it was in the best interest to SELL spectrum instead of LEASING it, so that the government retains at least some control over what is essentially a limited public asset?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There are MVNOs...

They could still sell it but require a network plan that must be implemented within 5 years and over half the spectrum is in use. This spectrum was purchased in 2006, so they have been sitting on it for over 5-years.

The spectrum should be returned for re-auction and SpectrumCo to receive 90% of of the sale price.

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Re: There are MVNOs...

Give the organization that sat on the spectrum and did nothing with it for 5 years 90% of the sale price?

All that would do is encourage deep-pocketed do-nothing organizations to become spectrum speculators.

Personally I think the whole idea of spectrum auctions in the first place stinks. They just stumbled on this new revenue source back in the Clinton era and have now become addicted to it, and for the most part all it has done is eliminate competition and create destructive entities like LightSquared et al.

(Oh and BTW, anything that Comcast passionately advocates for is almost _guaranteed_ to be a bad idea for citizens.)

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"Wall Street prefers firms that immunize themselves from competitive attack"

What a wonderfully delicate way of saying "firms that crush the competition and monopolize the market"

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