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Public Knowledge Believes Verizon and SpectrumCo part of a Cartel. Really?

Public Knowledge has been on a little rampage, referring to Verizon’s petition to obtain AWS licenses from SpectrumCo, LLC as synonymous to a cartel. Specifically, Public Knowledge is saying that the aggregation of spectrum on the part of Verizon, combined with joint marketing, reseller, and joint operating entity agreements entered into between Verizon and SpectrumCo would effectively result in a cartel.

Should the transfer go through, Verizon and SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast, Time Warner, and Bright House, will cross-sell each others’ services.

In its ex-parte letter posted on the Federal Communications Commission’s website on 18 June 2012, Public Knowledge made its cartel claim, but doesn’t seem to provide evidence of current or projected cartel behavior. For example, a cartel is defined as a group of firms with an explicit, formal agreement to fix prices and output shares in a particular market. Public Knowledge offers no evidence supporting the particular market Verizon and Spectrum intend to carve up, the level at which prices are to eb fixed, or how shares of that undefined market are to be divided up.

Without a showing that Verizon and SpectrumCo have entered a contract, combination, or conspiracy to restrain trade, a cartel argument is a non-starter.

Besides, why even bring this allegation to the FCC? This claim should be in front of the U.S. Department of Justice.