FCC approves AT&T's purchase of Leap Wireless

The $1.2 billion deal includes conditions that AT&T expand LTE service

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved AT&T's US$1.2 billion acquisition of competitor Leap Wireless, which sells prepaid mobile service under the Cricket brand.

The FCC on Thursday cleared the transaction subject to several conditions. Among other things, AT&T agreed to sell off some wireless spectrum, deploy LTE service on Leap's unused spectrum and deploy LTE in six south Texas markets within 18 months.

AT&T announced plans to acquire Leap in July. Mobile analysts expected Leap as the next carrier to be sold after SoftBank in 2013 bought No. 3 carrier Sprint for $21.6 billion, a deal allowing Sprint to acquire Clearwire. In early 2013, No. 4 T-Mobile US acquired MetroPCS, another regional budget carrier.

Leap's Cricket service has about 4.6 million customers.

Public Knowledge, a digital rights group, questioned the deal, saying the FCC needs to address problems with spectrum holdings being consolidated by a handful of mobile carriers.

"The removal of Leap ... from the marketplace is troubling, because its low-cost, prepaid price plans are particularly attractive to low-income consumers," John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, said in a statement. "While, among other things, AT&T has committed to offering a $40, unlimited plan for feature phones for 18 months, the best guarantee of consumer protection is competition, not promises."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags business issuesantitrustLeap Wirelessat&tregulationlegalU.S. Federal Communications CommissionJohn BergmayergovernmentMergers and acquisitionsPublic Knowledge

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?