Menu
FCC approves AT&T's purchase of Leap Wireless

FCC approves AT&T's purchase of Leap Wireless

The $1.2 billion deal includes conditions that AT&T expand LTE service

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved AT&T's US$1.2 billion acquisition of competitor Leap Wireless, which sells prepaid mobile service under the Cricket brand.

The FCC on Thursday cleared the transaction subject to several conditions. Among other things, AT&T agreed to sell off some wireless spectrum, deploy LTE service on Leap's unused spectrum and deploy LTE in six south Texas markets within 18 months.

AT&T announced plans to acquire Leap in July. Mobile analysts expected Leap as the next carrier to be sold after SoftBank in 2013 bought No. 3 carrier Sprint for $21.6 billion, a deal allowing Sprint to acquire Clearwire. In early 2013, No. 4 T-Mobile US acquired MetroPCS, another regional budget carrier.

Leap's Cricket service has about 4.6 million customers.

Public Knowledge, a digital rights group, questioned the deal, saying the FCC needs to address problems with spectrum holdings being consolidated by a handful of mobile carriers.

"The removal of Leap ... from the marketplace is troubling, because its low-cost, prepaid price plans are particularly attractive to low-income consumers," John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, said in a statement. "While, among other things, AT&T has committed to offering a $40, unlimited plan for feature phones for 18 months, the best guarantee of consumer protection is competition, not promises."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationMergers and acquisitionsbusiness issueslegalantitrustat&tU.S. Federal Communications CommissionPublic KnowledgeLeap WirelessJohn Bergmayer

Featured

Slideshows

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

New Zealanders kick-started EDGE 2018 with a bout of Super Rugby before a dedicated New Zealand session, in front of more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors on Hamilton Island.‚Äč

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session
EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018 kicked off with a dedicated New Zealand track, highlighting the key customer priorities across the local market, in association with Dell EMC. Delivered through EDGE Research - leveraging Kiwi data through Tech Research Asia - more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors combined during an interactive session to assess the changing spending patterns of the end-user and the subsequent impact to the channel.

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research
Show Comments