McAdam was responding on Tuesday to a question about whether such a
deal could be approved at an investor conference after reports that
No. 3 U.S. mobile service Sprint Corp is looking into the
possibility of buying No. 4 rival T-Mobile U.S.
While the executive said he does not have any inside knowledge about
U.S. regulators' thinking he said that a current escalation of
mobile competition may be the result the government was looking for
when it blocked No. 2 mobile operator AT&T Inc from buying T-Mobile
"I think they're (regulators are) beginning to see some of the
things they wanted to see from four competitors ... so I think
they'll want to play out that hand," McAdam said during a webcast of
an investor conference in Las Vegas.
McAdam suggested regulators would only approve any Sprint/T-Mobile
deal if the companies involved agreed to sell a lot of their
spectrum as a condition for approval.
"I'll look forward to all the spectrum that'll be divested from that
group," as a result of such a deal, McAdam said.
Demand for wireless airwaves has risen sharply as U.S. operators
scramble to boost their networks to support increasing consumer Web
surfing and video use on cellphones.
McAdam has made no secret of the fact that Verizon Wireless,
Verizon's venture with Vodafone Group Plc, is always on the lookout
for opportunities to buy more spectrum.
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The executive was asked if Verizon Wireless would consider some kind
of spectrum sharing deal with satellite TV provider Dish Network,
which owns spectrum but has no network on which it can put the
spectrum to use.
McAdam said that he thinks Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has spoken to
everybody in the industry about his options but he said "a model may
emerge but so far a model hasn't emerged. Time will tell whether
there's something there for both parties."
Asked about increasing competition being stemmed by aggressive
discounting by T-Mobile, McAdam said that "price competition is
typically short-lived" in the mobile industry.
The executive said he expects Verizon to work with content providers
this year to test mobile Internet-based video services. These are
known in the industry as "over-the-top" services because they do not
use traditional cable networks.
Verizon currently competes with cable companies with its FiOS home
television service. It plans to close a deal to buy Vodafone's 45
percent share of Verizon Wireless in late February.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by
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