Despite having many parties interested in purchasing its 700MHz Lower A and B Block spectrum, Verizon Wireless has dismissed suggestions that the frequencies on offer represent a so-called ‘fire sale’. According to Fierce Wireless, chief financial officer Fran Shammo, speaking during the company’s quarterly earnings call, admitted: ‘If we don’t get fair value, we will use it internally’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May this year, Verizon hired investment bank Loop Capital Markets to help it manage the proposed sale of its 700MHz Lower A and B Block licences. The operator provisionally agreed to sell the spectrum if it received regulatory approval for its USD3.9 billion purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between cablecos Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks; the FCC approved the deal in August. That month Verizon claimed that a total of 64 companies had registered an interest in buying the spectrum, although no deals have been forthcoming. For his part, Mr Shammo noted that the bidding process for the spectrum is complex and a lot of work is still to be done.
TeleGeography notes that rival mobile operators AT&T Mobility and US Cellular have both gone on record as confirming an interest in Verizon’s 700MHz spectrum, and both have recently taken steps to boost their respective spectrum holdings through assorted regional deals. As per the licence conditions, all Lower A and B Block concessions have rollout requirements that mandate coverage to 35% of the licensed geographic areas by mid-2013, putting pressure on any carrier that bids for the unwanted spectrum.