WASHINGTON — Verizon Wireless won final federal approval for its $3.6-billion purchase of airwave licenses primarily from large cable companies, but regulators slapped additional conditions onto the deal.
The approval by the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday followed the go-ahead last week from the Justice Department, which also placed conditions on the deal to ease concerns that it would decrease competition in the telecommunications market.
The FCC voted unanimously to allow Verizon to obtain airwave licenses from a consortium of cable companies — Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks — that once had hoped to launch its own mobile services. Verizon also acquired spectrum from Cox Communications and Leap Wireless International Inc.
To obtain the FCC approval, Verizon agreed to complete a planned spectrum swap with T-Mobile USA Inc. within 45 days after closing the cable deal to help boost competition from its much smaller rival. In addition, Verizon agreed to speed deployment of mobile services on the new spectrum. It will have to offer service to at least 30% of the population covered by the cable spectrum within three years and to 70% within seven years.