Telecom DailyWelcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant.
Monday, July 16...
US Department of Justice Appeals AT&T / Time Warner Merger
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal of the federal court decision to approve AT&T's $85.4 billion mega-merger with Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) without conditions. Citing a "court document" that was filed on Thursday, July 12th, CNBC said that the agency believes that the combined company would "decrease competition and raise prices for consumers." According to presiding US District Court Judge Richard Leon - whose 200-page opinion was reposted by CNBC after the ruling - the federal government failed to prove that the deal would decrease competition in a significant way. For its part, AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement that "The Court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned," continuing that the carrier is "surprised that the DOJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances" and stating that the company will "defend the Court's decision at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals."
FCC Proposes Legislation Regarding Mid-Band Wireless Spectrum
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a new Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it claimed to identify "new opportunities for flexible use in up to 500 megahertz of mid-band spectrum." The Commission noted that this "mid-band" allocation - which specifically deals with wireless blocks between 3.7 and 4.2GHz - is "well-suited for next-generation wireless services." In particular, the proposal outlined several steps that are designed to make the spectrum available for terrestrial fixed and mobile broadband services, including 5G. The new rules would require Fixed Satellite Service earth stations operating in the band to "certify the accuracy of existing registration and license information" while also making it possible to "collect additional information from space station licensees." Other elements would include adding a mobile - but not aeronautical mobile - allocation to all 500MHz blocks in the band; as well as potentially transitioning all or part of the blocks for "flexible" use, including "market-based, auction, and alternative mechanisms." Finally, the FCC also plans to seek comment on the notion of allowing more intensive, point-to-multipoint, fixed use across a portion of the band on a shared basis.
Commerce Department Lifts Ban on Selling Products from China's ZTE
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) removed its ban on the sale of devices from Chinese manufacturer ZTE in the US. According to Reuters, this costly prohibition follows separate payments of $1 billion in fines and $400 million in a "bank escrow account" as part of a recent settlement. The $400 million payment, in particular, will remain in an escrow account for potentially 10 years in order to cover additional violations of its settlement. Other settlement terms include requirements that ZTE change its Board of Directors and management team; provide the US government with what Reuters called "unfettered site visits"; and accept the possibility of a 10-year US ban should it violate any other terms. In spite of the positive news, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross qualified the decision in an e-mailed statement to the news outlet, noting that "the department will remain vigilant as we closely monitor ZTE's actions to ensure compliance with all US laws and regulations." ZTE was believed to have ceased most operations following its April 2017 banishment for not just "illegal shipments" of US products to Iran and North Korea - for which it plead guilty in 2017 - but, per Reuters, for making "false statements" regarding its discipline of those involved staff members.
... Brady Hicks, Faulkner Information Services
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