On October 2, the FCC consented to the applications filed in connection with the proposed acquisition of Midwest Wireless Holdings, LLC (“Midwest Wireless”) by ALLTEL Communications, Inc. (“ALLTEL”), subject to certain conditions. ALLTEL provides wireless communications services to approximately 11 million wireless customers in 35 states. Midwest Wireless is a wireless provider with more than 400,000 customers in southern Minnesota, northern and eastern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
Specifically, the FCC approved with conditions the transfer of control of licenses and authorizations held by Midwest Wireless and its subsidiaries to ALLTEL. These licenses and authorizations include: Cellular licenses, Broadband Personal Communications Service (“PCS”) licenses, Common Carrier Fixed Point-to-Point Microwave licenses, 39 GHz licenses, Local Multipoint Distribution Service licenses, and three international section 214 authorizations. In analyzing ALLTEL’s proposed acquisition of Midwest Wireless, the FCC examined the market for mobile telephony services and concluded that the companies demonstrated that the merger will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.
Further, the FCC concluded that the likely public interest benefits of the merger outweigh any potential public interest harms and that competitive harm is unlikely in most mobile telephony markets involved in the proposed transaction. In four Cellular Market Areas, however, the FCC determined that likely competitive harms exceed the likely benefits of the transaction and, in these areas, imposed conditions that will effectively remedy the potential for these particular harms. The conditions imposed with respect to the cellular systems in the markets mirror, in large part, the terms of a settlement agreement between the applicants and the Department of Justice.
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