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T-Mobile, Sprint Call On FCC To Slow Verizon Spectrum Bid Review

By Greg Bensinger Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) called on federal regulators to suspend an informal 180-day review period of Verizon Wireless's bid for $3.9 billion worth of wireless airwaves from a group of cable-television companies. The carriers are seeking the suspension in order to get Verizon Wireless to disclose more information about a marketing deal with the cable companies regarding the cross-promotion of services. In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the carriers--joined by DirecTV Group Inc. (DTV) and several consumer groups--said Verizon Wireless should be required to release unredacted versions of filings that detail the commercial agreements. "Those redactions, which the applicants describe as 'relating to pricing, compensation and marketing strategies,' make it impossible to understand the full ramifications," according to the filing. Verizon Wireless defended the spectrum deals in an FCC filing released Monday, saying it would relieve its congested network and bring mobile broadband to a wider swath of Americans. The carrier said the FCC shouldn't review the marketing accord, as it is already being scrutinized by the Justice Department. "The cross-marketing agreements are redacted to protect sensitive business information, such as pricing, that would undermine competition and ultimately harm consumers," a Verizon spokesman said Tuesday, noting that the Justice Department and some FCC officials have access to full versions of the documents. An FCC spokesman declined to comment. Verizon announced the deals with Comcast Corp. (CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), Bright House Networks LLC and Cox Communications Inc. in December as AT&T Inc.'s (T) failed $39 billion bid for T-Mobile was winding down. T-Mobile has opposed the Verizon Wireless spectrum deals, cautioning they could put too much of a scarce resource into the hands of too few. Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), which co-owns Verizon Wireless with Vodafone Group PLC (VOD, VOD.LN), recently shed 18 cents to $38.82. -By Greg Bensinger, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-4676; greg.bensinger@dowjones.com

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