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AT&T divests spectrum, now buys it back


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In the Cingular-AT&TWS merger FCC consent agreement in 2004, Cingular (which is the current AT&T) was required to divest assets in certain markets to satisfy competition concerns. In several markets in Arkansas, Cingular divested PCS 1900 MHz spectrum to NEATT. In the interim eight years, NEATT tried to make a go of it but failed. So, for the past two years, NEATT has been shopping its spectrum licenses to potential buyers. The only buyer that stepped up was AT&T.




Folks, this situation is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The domestic wireless industry is snowballing toward both duopoly and duopsony. VZW and AT&T may end up not just the only sellers of wireless service but also the only buyers of wireless capacity. If so, our only hope as consumers may be strict regulation.



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Seems no one else was interested in buying, the only other option was to return it back to the FCC.

Not much of a choice for NEATT.


Yes, and that is the point. A healthy market has an abundance of both buyers and sellers. If not, then we may need to realize that the wireless industry is not healthy -- or is simply not a market, hence requires regulation as a necessary utility.



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Wireless has replaced POTS as the standard for voice communication, it is time for the regulators to step up and ensure the consumer is not being screwed.

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