Auctions Should Be Open, Not Closed

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affair:

“Auctions should be open, not closed.  Any qualified carrier, including those on today’s letter, should have a chance to bid on any spectrum available in an auction.  This group, however, wants the FCC to stack the deck in its favor.  Congress is right to resist this notion.  In fact, what this group proposes could not be called an auction with a straight face.  These companies should be prepared to compete in a fair and open auction, and should stop seeking a rigged spectrum auction that would harm consumers and cost the Treasury billions.”

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Spectrum Auctions and
Lessons Learned

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

As reported in today’s Communications Daily, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt concedes Commission mistakes in the spectrum auction that involved NextWave, yet he is still pushing for FCC discretion in future spectrum auctions.  The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs:

“As Reed admits, Congress gave the FCC discretion in the PCS C Block auction, and it used that discretion in a way that resulted in an auction that was a disaster for the industry and for the Treasury.  And the flaw, in our view, was not simply a function of installment payments.  It was the decision to have a closed versus an open auction.  Our point is that an auction should be open to all competitors, not just to those hand picked by the FCC.  Reed was a good and diligent chairman, and it’s characteristic of him that he’d acknowledge a mistake.  But Congress has every right to learn from those mistakes, and to insist the FCC not repeat them.  That’s what the House spectrum bill does.  The FCC should get behind it and put the interests of the country first so that we can quickly move forward to address the looming spectrum crisis that we all agree is the biggest threat to innovation, job creation and growth for the wireless industry.”

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AT&T Response to Former FCC Chair’s
Remarks on Spectrum Auctions

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, responds to comments made by former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt regarding spectrum auctions:

“Despite Reed Hundt’s recollection, the FCC’s track record on auctions is not an unbroken string of successes.  In fact, Hundt’s tenure saw perhaps the biggest single fiasco of this sort, the PCS C Block auction.  In that situation, the FCC used its discretion in a way that set aside valuable spectrum for ‘designated entities’, and excluded otherwise qualified companies from bidding.  Over half of the 493 licenses from that auction were later returned to the government for non-payment, and the licenses of the largest winner, NextWave, were tied up in bankruptcy litigation for years.  In that case, the FCC’s use of its ‘discretion’ ended up costing the U.S. Treasury billions, and left vitally needed spectrum unused for years.   

“No one is suggesting the FCC’s conduct of auctions be micro-managed.  But Congress – not the FCC – sets policy, especially when it directly impacts revenue needed for deficit reduction.  And there is no more fundamental policy point than whether a spectrum auction should be open or closed.  Congress has every right to tell the FCC it should not be picking winners and losers in the wireless market, or using its ‘discretion’ to tilt the playing field. We need open auctions where every competitor has a fair chance to participate, and that is what the House bill provides.”

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AT&T Statement on Incentive
Spectrum Auction Legislation

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

AT&T says it would be a disservice to the Nation if the FCC is so adamant about preserving and enhancing its own power that it would risk killing this crucial legislation 

The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President —External and Legislative Affairs:

“We applaud the chairman’s continuing support for incentive spectrum auction legislation, which is vital to consumers and to our Nation’s economy.  We are troubled, though, that the chairman and some of his staff are now saying that the FCC, and not the United States Congress, should have full power to impose conditions, and to decide which companies are allowed to participate in spectrum auctions and which should not.

“In our experience, anytime a regulatory agency seeks unfettered discretion, that is the best reason Congress should not give it to them.

“The entire principle behind spectrum auctions is to allow free and competitive markets to work, thus ensuring that valuable spectrum goes to the most economically viable uses.  This also provides maximum return to the U.S. Treasury.  For the FCC to assert, in the name of ‘fostering competition’, that it should have final say on which companies can bid on spectrum is for them to engage in picking winners and losers.  That is not the job of the FCC.  When consumers are able to make decisions in a free and competitive market– and wireless is clearly that– the FCC should not be allowed to impose its own will if it doesn’t like the choices those consumers make.

“The FCC should be a neutral arbiter, ensuring fairness and impartially enforcing a system of rules and laws.  It should not be empowered by Congress to advantage some companies and disadvantage others, or to impose its preferences on a free market.  We commend the Congress for advancing spectrum legislation in a way that helps the economy, maximizes revenue for the Treasury, and ensures that consumers– not regulators– decide who wins and loses in the competitive wireless market.  It would be a disservice to the Nation if the FCC is so adamant about preserving and enhancing its own power that it would risk killing this crucial legislation.”

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AT&T Response to FCC Staff Report

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs:  

We expected that the AT&T-T-Mobile transaction would receive careful, considered, and fair analysis.   Unfortunately, the preliminary FCC Staff Analysis offers none of that.  The document is so obviously one-sided that any fair-minded person reading it is left with the clear impression that it is an advocacy piece, and not a considered analysis.

In our view, the report raises questions as to whether its authors were predisposed.  The report cherry-picks facts to support its views, and ignores facts that don’t.  Where facts were lacking, the report speculates, with no basis, and then treats its own speculations as if they were fact.  This is clearly not the fair and objective analysis to which any party is entitled, and which we have every right to expect. 

All any company can properly ask when they present a matter to the government is a fair hearing and objective treatment based on factual findings.  The FCC’s report makes clear that neither occurred on our merger, at least within the pages of this report.  This has not been our past experience with the agency, which lets us hope for and expect better in the future.  Here are examples of what we are describing: 

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