The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) waved on the transfer of mmWave licences from Straight Path Communications to Verizon, rejecting a motion by the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) to stay approval.
In denying the CCA’s motion, the commission said the group failed to meet its burden of proof to warrant such “an extraordinary remedy”. The FCC concluded: “Verizon’s acquisition of this mmW[ave] spectrum is unlikely to foreclose rival service providers from obtaining access to sufficient spectrum” for 5G.
In January, the FCC gave the go ahead for Verizon’s deal with Straight Path Communications to move forward, approving the transfer of 735 licences in the 39GHz band and 133 in the 28GHz, 29GHz and 31GHz bands. But the following month, the CCA asked the FCC to review and stay its decision citing an “incomplete and flawed public interest analysis” which led to the original outcome.
The CCA, which represents rural and regional operators, accused the FCC of giving Verizon “special treatment” by allowing it to acquire licences which should have been cancelled and returned to the commission for auction due to Straight Path Communications’ failure to meet build out requirements. CCA argued the transaction would not only give Verizon a head start on 5G and allow it to corner the market, but also result in a less competitive 28GHz auction.
CCA filed a similar request to block AT&T’s acquisition of mmWave spectrum from FiberTower, though the FCC is yet to issue a decision in that case.
The FCC is expected to hold an auction for the remaining available spectrum in the 28GHz band in November.