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AT&T gets approval for spectrum purchase while Verizon deal faces investigation

AT&T has been given the go-ahead to acquire spectrum from Qualcomm

US operator AT&T has been granted approval from regulators for its plans to go ahead with a $ 1.93bn deal to acquire spectrum from Qualcomm, just days after its planned merger with T-Mobile USA collapsed.

AT&T will purchase 6MHz of spectrum across the country in the 700MHz band, as well as another 6MHz of spectrum in five major metropolitan areas: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Unlike the T-Mobile merger, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ruled that this purchase “would not result in competitive harm that would outweigh the public interest benefits of this transaction”.

AT&T announced its plans to buy the spectrum in December last year, just weeks before announcing the much larger-scale proposed deal to acquire T-Mobile USA for $ 39 billion, with both deals stimulated by a shortage of spectrum in the country.

Meanwhile, rival Verizon Wireless is to have a spectrum deal of its own investigated by authorities. The US Justice Department has confirmed that it is looking into a spectrum deal struck between Verizon Wireless and three US cable companies, and analysing any anti-competitive effects it may have on the telecommunications industry.

The operator recently announced plans to spend $ 3.6bn on 122 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licences from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, in a bid to boost its LTE offering.

The cable companies also announced that they have entered into several agreements with Verizon, providing for the sale of various products and services.

However, there are concerns that the deal creates a relationship between companies that had been competing, which could be perceived as anti-competitive to the rest of the market. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

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SingTel Optus secures approval to migrate broadband subs to Australia’s NBN

Australia's National Broadband Network will eventually cover 93% of the country's population with fibre

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has approved a deal struck between SingTel Optus and NBN Co (operator of the country’s new high-speed broadband network) to transfer broadband customers to the latter’s fibre network.

The competition watchdog has also approved the decommissioning of parts of SingTel Optus’s hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network, which was included in the deal the telco struck with NBN Co.

In a prepared statement, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “In coming to its final view the ACCC took account of a substantial amount of public and confidential information in addition to submissions received from interested parties in response to the draft decision. The ACCC remains of the view that the public benefits, which are clear and quantifiable, on balance outweigh the likely detriment.”

These benefits include eliminating the cost of operating the Optus HFC network to provide a service that the National Broadband Network will also provide, and lowering the cost of migrating customers over to the NBN.

The ACCC determined that SingTel Optus is unlikely to extend its HFC network beyond the 1.4 million homes it currently covers, and is also unlikely to make the investments needed to position the network’s capacity on a par with the NBN.

The NBN project is valued at A$ 38bn ($ 39bn) and is expected to take around a decade to complete, with 93 per cent of Australian premises to receive broadband via fibre optic cable, four per cent via fixed-wireless and the remaining three per cent by satellite. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

Telefonica wins approval with sweetened KPN deal

The deal could see a significant shake up of European mobile

The deal could see a significant shake up of European mobile

It looks like America Movil has given its approval to the takeover of KPN’s German unit E-Plus after Telefónica Deutschland sweetened its original deal.

Mexico City-based América Móvil said Monday it would support the sale of E-Plus at the improved terms, which will see KPN receive €5bn in cash and a 20.5 per cent stake in Telefónica Deutschland post transaction, for a total transaction value of €8.55bn compared to the previous announced value of €8.1bn.

América Móvil holds, directly and indirectly, approximately 29.77 per cent of KPN and given that it launched its own offer to acquire 100 per cent of the company earlier this month, there were some concerns it would block Telefónica’s move. But those concerns have now been allayed and the board is set for the biggest shakeup of the European telecoms sector for years.

Telefonica confirmed that America Movil has irrevocably committed to vote in favour of the transaction at the Extraordinary Shareholder Meeting of KPN.

Telefónica still needs support from antitrust regulators for the deal but if it wins approval it stands to create the largest mobile operator by subscriber numbers in one of Europe’s strongest markets; the companies’ combined subscriber base would stand at 40.63 million, as of March 2013 according to Informa’s WCIS.

Deutsche Telekom is currently the market leader in Germany with 37 million subscribers. Vodafone, with its 29.17 million subscribers, is also looking to boost its presence in the country with the acquisition of Kabel Deutschland.

The extraordinary general meeting will be held on 2 October 2013.

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AT&T’s Mexico move gets regulatory approval

The Mexican regulator seemed keep to get this deal through

The Mexican regulator seemed keep to get this deal through

It looks like things are set to get a whole lot more competitive for Carlos Slim, the man who currently dominates the Mexican telco market. US giant AT&T has had its bid to buy the country’s third largest operator – Iusacell – approved by the Mexican telco regulator.

For the deal to complete Grupo Salinas, which currently only owns half of Iusacell, would need to buy out its JV partner Televisa. The regulator also gave that move the all clear in its ruling so it should be all clear for AT&T to complete the move now.

AT&T first announced the move a month and a half ago, so other regulators might want to be aware that decisions such as this don’t always have to take several months. Iusacell is currently the third largest mobile operator, by subscription, in Mexico, according to Ovum’s WCIS service. It has around 9 million subscribers, behind Movistar with 20 million and Carlos Slim’s Telcel with 70 million.

The approval may have been hastened by the hostile regulatory environment faced by Carlos Slim’s América Móvil, which owns Telcel. Back in July Slim announced he would dispose of some América Móvil assets to reduce its dominance of the Mexican market and get the regulator of its back. Inevitably Slim has dragged his feet somewhat since then, and the regulator is probably happy that he is facing increased competition via another route.

AT&T, of course, has deep pockets and can spend on both marketing and improved infrastructure. If Telcel is still to be broken up the arrival of international companies with the ability to invest should liven the Mexican mobile market up considerably.

Telefonica O2 Secures Approval for E-Plus Takeover

Telefonica’s German subsidiary says that it has received final approval for its takeover of local rival, E-Plus, owned by Netherlands based KPN. Click here for more.


Fitch: Telefonica Deal Approval Supports Investment and MVNOs

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Vodafone Gets Approval to Buy Spanish Landline Network

The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Spain’s Grupo Corporativo ONO by Vodafone. Click here for more.