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Clearwire Corporation (CLWRD) Message Board

  • teamrep teamrep Feb 28, 2013 4:30 PM Flag

    Two new docs of proceedings on FCC website

    The FCC posted Sprint's response to the C.D..E's request to deny and the FCC's request for more information. these can be found with a Google search of " softbank-sprint.html "

    The Sprint response is not exciting... it debunks the Catholic Diocese, Erie's request to deny by saying a) the issue of the spectrum was decided in 2008 when New Clearwire was formed. b) Sprint has control of the spectrum outside of the Softbank acquisition and so is extemporaneous to the deal as it has already been ruled on and thus there should be no consideration for spinning out EBS or any other portion, and c) The arguments about the spectrum not being put to use are shown false by most EBS license holders support and the how the differences in the spectrum work out to hold the EBS spectrum as distinct from mobile spectrum.. having restrictions and compacts that define its for the intended purposes.

    The FCC has asked what looks to be similar to past requests, only somewhat refined, for more information on foreign ownership of Softbank ... is it asking to clarify ownership of Softbank as degree of Japanese residensts.

    So, what's up with this? Keeping in mind that the clock is ticking down in the review process, parties have been given opportunity to submit objections/requests/information which has reached a deadline this week... the various documents line up to be minor rebuttals against, fairly routine counter responses by SB-S, and fairly assertive favorable responses by current EBS license holders doing business with Clearwire. What, again, is perhaps more telling, is what HAS NOT come forward: there has been a response from Verizon and other competitors but these have been on the ground of reconsideration of the roll-up of the spectrum and not to deny that the deal move forward. Competitors would like to see some of the spectrum taken out of Sprint-SB's hands because that would benefit them and is similar to protests Sprint has made in their deal... only milder. They did not, as Sprint had done in AT&T's bid for T-Mobile, object to the deal outright. This is as expected... as posted here weeks ago.

    Summary conclusion: The Softbank-Sprint deal has come under minor arguments from Crest, C.D.E., DISH, VZW, ATT that have no chance of derailing the acquisition outright, a very slim chance of causing the FCC to spin out some of the spectrum to be up for re-licensing in some fashion, and a modest to fair chance that the FCC will impose new guidelines on use and access to the spectrum that set the rules for wholesale access and, perhaps, align the goals of EBS more for common fixed-mobile use.

    The proceeding is still gathering information and the FCC has not provided guidance other in that what their requests for information and other proceedings have suggested... so, the decisions by DOJ and FCC remain out.

    I think the odds that the S-SB deal will be approved have narrowed in Sprint-SB's favor. Crest's arguments are out to lunch with reality.. the FCC will not force a take back spectrum or otherwise orchestrate an incentive auction imo. They threw the suggestion out there for the FCC to consider... so it is 'on the table'. However, I doubt anyone at S-SB- or CW are taking that as more than a wild shot and Crest's attempt to set up arguments they will use if their lawsuit moves forward unresolved.

    DISH has the ball in their court to fish or cut bait: the current deal will not cut it.. and Ergen/DISH is unwilling to put up more of their future to acquire Clearwire outright. Sprint has not upped their bid but I had not expected them to while the FCC and DOJ deliberations were ongoing ... there is little reason to sweeten the deal until there is a showdown with a stock vote.

    New Clearwire V1.0 is heading for Happy Valley grave yard... it will be made part of New Sprint-SB. There is a chance for the DISH-Sprint-SB-CW deal but as the FCC-DOJ deliberations narrow while talks between DISH-S-SB are not apparent, the odds also narrow lower imo.

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    • Isn't there basic law that prevents foreign ownership of more than 25% of a US communications company? If not, where am I remembering this 25% foreign ownership limitation from?

      • 3 Replies to mnwimttn
      • Only if the corporation is majority owned by a foreign government. Review the case of Deutsche Telekom taking over Voicestream in 2001, where Deutsche Telekom had major ownership from the German government and the FCC required them to reduce the ownership of the government entity in the company in which they complied and the acquisition went through. Today that company is known as T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom still owns them. Softbank has little to no government ownership, so there shouldn't be any problems in that area.

      • A foreign company cannot own more than 49% of a US airline...

      • There isn't an outright ban on foreign ownership.. the 25% is a general guideline: over 25% and it gets considered but it is not a set limit for approval. Vodafone owns a higher percentage of Verizon, DT of T-Mobile, and AT&T has international interests. The 25% guideline and subsequent rulings should also be viewed as evolving with international trade agreements and practice and with US economic and political climate. At the time, the US is struggling with huge accrued government and trade deficits while trying to not have that cause a slip back into recession.. which is like hoping to keep the hot air balloon floating even while you are running out of propane fuel gas. If cuts in spending are made, then the float of the economy moves down which further lowers government revenues. Of course, in the past we have loaded the hot air balloon up with politicians who would be depended on to belch out and fart enough hot air (deficit spending in their own districts/chums) to keep flying sky high.... one bubble burst avoided after the other over the past 30 years... remember the Internut bubble 'new economy' think? The financial analyst wonks were spewing out nonsense about 'old financial metrics no longer matter because this Internut thing is unfathomably wonderful.. here, put on these rose colored glasses Slade, et al and spend, spend, spend our way out of those nasty economic pull backs from excess gulttony of the past.. The new economy discounts gluttony as being the fuel for the new digital fantasia."

        OK, i deviated too much from the question: however, the economy has become a larger than what it otherwise should be factor in all this: government is more reluctant to reject a large investment by a company of one of our chief allies. Softbank has been a 'western style' operation within the context of Japan.. Son saw success despite not having Japanese heritage because he won favor with iconic Japanese tech companies to forge distribution and product relationships favorable and that often partnered with them. Son is also an ambassador of American higher education... wrap a US flag around Son and he looks more like a native son than many Americans who send business to foreign shores rather than doing business that is favorable to American companies. Apple makes most of their product in China... those traitors! (kidding of course to make a point).

        Before SB made the deal to acquire Sprint, I figured they would be a good candidate with Clearwire, or Sprint partly because of their history and position.. they just felt so good as a candidate .. and I couldn't think how they would pose a threat as a foreign owner. As it looks now, they are hardly being considered as much of a threat as AT&T.. less objection to this deal than there was for acq. of T-Mobile.. even if for other reasons, it works out to all being fairly copacetic for the deal to take place.