Telecom Timeout

Jul 9 2009   6:47PM GMT

Will Verizon’s LTE rollout stumble over a little DoJ review?

WPeterson William Peterson Profile: WPeterson

Tom Nolle certainly thinks LTE could face delays as a result of the Department of Justice review, but he also decries the media for “sensationalizing” the story of the investigation. To allow a little more nuance (and maybe just to be fair to Tom), he did state his concerns were regarding a serious inquiry, and this latest kerfluffle seems anything but, as antitrust lawyer Matthew S. Wild explained:

Despite the increased regulatory scrutiny, this is just the earliest stage of the DOJ’s investigation, and Wild said it will probably come to nothing. In many ways, investigations into text pricing or device exclusivity are par for the course for big business.

“These deals only begin to pose a problem if they foreclose a substantial amount of competition,” he said. “Unless there is a deal between AT&T and Verizon, for example, or Nokia and Apple — horizontal competitors — it’s not much of a concern.”

The investigation is in such early stages that AT&T reportedly didn’t even know it was being investigated. Wild said for public companies, such an investigation would count as a “material fact” about corporate well-being, and AT&T (and any other telecoms involved) would have to disclose the information.

So what’s your take? Tempest in a teapot or a sign of big government gunning for big telcom players?

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