The FCC (a/k/a The Fat Lady) Sings

In a press release issued today, the FCC announces that it has agreed to the transfer of assets from Rural Cellular (Unicel) to Verizon. The FCC attached a condition to its order: "based on a case-by-case analysis which determined that there was a potential for competitive harm in the six markets listed below, the FCC is requiring that one of the two companies divest the licenses and related operational and network assets in those markets."These include two markets in the State of Washington as well as the three in Vermont and one in New York (Plattsburgh/Franklin area). So either Rural Cellular (Unicel) or Verizon has to get rid of them--presumably to AT&T.The order is effective today (August 1, 2008). Petitions for reconsideration can be filed within 30 days.

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Thanks Jesse,
So the question is, do we now have to wait another 30 days for the petition period to end?

Before I left on Friday the first on Vacation, I talked to a friend at Unicel and she told me that AT&T has already visited the Plattsburgh office and she expects September to be the month. This all he say she say but I maybe would add another couple of months due to Verizon now getting RCC and now Verizon now has to shave our region off the whole cake. I am expecting the begining of FY 2009 for us to see the AT&T sign on Smithfield Blvd.

To add a note on here. I was in lower Maine and wanted to see if there were any AT&T stores around and drove to it to receive disappointment that they could not sell me a plan. So I am going to Glenmont/ Queensbury on Thursday to get my hands on an AT&T SIM card and finally use my new Blackberry 8310 to its fullest potential, or I will do it online since the guy who sold me the phone left his old SIM in there if they can do that.

I will fill everyone in more when I get some more information.

These two comments are not inconsistent. The order of August 1 included a 30-day period for protests to be filed. That would bring us to August 30, so September is possible.

Also, Verizon was not ordered to divest itself of RCC. The order says that either company can divest the licenses in question so that the divestiture can happen when the licenses are still owned by RCC or when they are owned by Verizon.

Thanks Jesse,
Yes, a 30 Day period brings us to September 1. If ATT is the ultimate buyer of the Verizon licenses (I don't think Sprint has the cash), I would chance a guess that the stand alone Unicel stores would be the first to convert. Also, if ATT owns the licenses and has a presence in VT or upstate NY, what would stop us from visiting an Apple Store and buying an iphone?

Beemer... Sprint has no way of buying the part Verizon is trading to AT&T because the purpose of the trade is because a monopoly of CDMA service. Unicel here is GSM and AT&T has GSM, Sprint has CDMA not GSM.

Thanks, my bad. I meant to say TMobile.

This article/press release appeared on PR newswire yesterday. Seems the VT/NY licenses were placed in a management trust. This was mentioned in the FCC documents. This release also gives us an idea of how Verizon will operate in the markets it controls.