Friday, October 26, 2012

TLP Mentioned in National Journal for Legislative Lobbying Work

Today, National Journal magazine mentioned Telecommunications Law Professionals (TLP) for its lobbying work related to high profile legislative activity in Congress.

If you need assistance with legislative issues before the House and Senate or have any questions regarding any legislation or activity in Congress that could impact the telecommunications, media and technology sectors, please contact Vance Schuemann and the TLP team. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

RTG's Proposed Spectrum Cap Denied

In an Order released today, the Commission dismissed the Rural Telecommunications Group’s (“RTG”) 2008 petition requesting a rulemaking to impose a 110 MHz-per-county cap on the amount of commercial terrestrial wireless spectrum below 2.3 GHz that one entity can hold.  When the Commission released its recent Mobile Spectrum Holdings Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, it declined to initiate the rulemaking RTG requested in favor of a broader and more comprehensive review.  In this Order, the Commission formally denies RTG’s Petition and terminates the proceeding.   

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

FCC October Open Meeting

Today, the FCC held its October Open Meeting where it unanimously approved an Order on Reconsideration to free up 30 MHz of Wireless Communications Service (“WCS”) spectrum for broadband use.  The Commission also heard a presentation on the state of voluntary bill shock alerts by wireless carriers, and it unanimously approved a Report and Order establishing a Do-Not-Call Registry for Public Safety Answering Points (“PSAPs”).

The WCS Order on Reconsideration revises the Commission’s rules to enable WCS licensees to use a total of 30 MHz of underutilized spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band for wireless broadband services while protecting the adjacent Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services (“SDARS”) from harmful interference.  20 MHz of the spectrum may be used for mobile broadband services and 10 MHz may be used for fixed broadband services, and it is possible that the 10 MHz could be used as downlink spectrum for mobile broadband devices in the future.  The Order on Reconsideration will lengthen and restart WCS construction periods so that licensees can deploy LTE networks.  The Order on Reconsideration was generated by a compromise between AT&T and SiriusXM regarding their interference concerns for wireless broadband operations in the band.  Commissioner Rosenworcel said that strong build-out requirements paired with active secondary markets will speed broadband deployment.  Commissioner Pai added that he hopes the pending secondary market transactions involving AT&T will be resolved by Thanksgiving so that the spectrum can start being used. 

An FCC presentation on CTIA’s voluntary bill shock program revealed that all of the participating carriers have satisfied their obligations to provide at least two kinds of usage alerts to consumers and that all of the carriers are on track to provide all four of the required alerts by the next deadline in April 2013.  Chairman Genachowski said he was pleased that carriers are living up to their commitments and empowering consumers.  Commissioner McDowell called the voluntary agreement a success story showing that cooperative efforts are better than government mandates.  Commissioner Pai commented that the FCC should continue its hands-off policy for usage-based billing in the wireless world.  Commissioner Rosenworcel suggested that the Commission track future bill shock complaints and produce a report one year after the requirements go into effect.  Commissioner Clyburn said that she hopes the Commission will still pursue enforcement actions when they are necessary to protect consumers. 

The Report and Order establishing a Do-Not-Call registry for PSAPs prohibits autodialed non-emergency calls to those numbers and imposes monetary penalties for autodialing or disclosing registered PSAP numbers.  The FCC was directed to establish the registry by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 in order to prevent robocalls from tying up emergency phone lines. 
                                                
The Commission has not yet released the Order on Reconsideration or the Report and Order, but copies will become publicly available.  Please feel free to contact the TLP team with any questions.

 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reminder: FCC Form 499-Q Due November 1st

This is a reminder that the deadline for filing the FCC Form 499-Q and supporting documentation is coming up in a few weeks.  All telecommunications carriers that provide interstate telecommunications services are required to file an FCC Form 499-Q Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet with the Commission on or before November 1, 2012.  Carriers must provide revenue information for July 1 through September 30 and projections for January 1 through March 31 of the coming year.  Additionally, to the extent that interconnected VoIP and CMRS providers rely on a traffic study to report interstate revenues for the November 1 filing of the Form 499-Q, the traffic study relied upon must be included with this filing.

The form and filing instructions may be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/forms.  If have any questions regarding the form, filing instructions, or the upcoming deadline, please feel free to contact the TLP team

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

FCC Announces October Open Meeting Agenda

The FCC announced the agenda for its October Open Meeting, which will take place on October 17th at 10:30 AM.  The meeting agenda sets out the following items:

  • The Commission will consider an Order on Reconsideration that revises the wireless communications services (“WCS”) rules to facilitate the use of 30 megahertz of spectrum for wireless broadband service while protecting satellite digital audio radio services (“SDARS”) from harmful interference. 

  • The Commission will consider a Second Report and Order to streamline reporting requirements on international telecommunications service providers.  The Second Report and Order will reduce reporting requirements for phone traffic while ensuring the collection of data that is needed to protect consumers and competition in international markets. 

  • The Commission will consider a Report and Order to establish a do-not-call registry that will protect public safety answering points (“PSAPs”) from autodialed calls.  The Report and Order will impose monetary penalties for autodialing or disclosing registered PSAP numbers.  The FCC will enact the rules in accordance with the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. 
 
The Open Meeting will be held in Room TW-C305, at 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.  It will also be broadcast live at www.fcc.gov/livePlease feel free to contact us with any questions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Summary of NPRM on Mobile Spectrum Holdings

The dates have been announced for interested parties to comment on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Policies Regarding Mobile Spectrum Holdings (“NPRM”).  Comments are due November 23rd, and Reply Comments are due December 24th. 
 
The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on October 9th. 
 
 
Please feel free to contact the TLP team with any questions. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Above The Law Recognizes TLP

Above The Law, a legal blog, has also recognized TLP’s role in the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger in its “Morning Docket” Report:

“A handful of Biglaw firms advised on the T-Mobile and MetroPCS merger, but Telecommunications Law Professionals, a boutique firm, showed up to prove it could hang with the big boys.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TLP Advises MetroPCS on T-Mobile/MetroPCS Merger

Today, Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (“MetroPCS”), announced that they have signed an agreement to combine T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.  The combined company, which will retain the T-Mobile name but will maintain the MetroPCS business model and brand, will have the expanded scale, spectrum and financial resources to aggressively compete with other national U.S wireless carriers.  Based on analyst estimates for 2012, the combined company is expected to have approximately 42.5 million subscribers, $24.8 billion of revenue, $6.3 billion of adjusted EBITDA, $4.2 billion of capital expenditures and $2.1 billion of free cash flow in 2012.

The combined company is expected to be a strong national competitor by:
·         Combining T-Mobile and MetroPCS’ complementary spectrum to provide greater network coverage, deeper LTE network deployment and a path to at least 20x20 MHz of 4G LTE in many areas;
·         Increasing scale, which allows the combined company to secure more compelling handsets, content and applications;
·         Projecting approximately $6-7 billion (net present value) of cost synergies and additional upside from revenue synergies;
·         Capitalizing on its leading position as a provider of fast growing no-contract services;
·         Offering a wider selection of attractive, competitively priced plans to better serve the marketplace, including contract, no-contract monthly, SIM-only, pay-as-you-go and mobile broadband services;
·         Introducing MetroPCS’ plans and services to a larger number of new areas to complement T-Mobile’s offerings; and
·         Using its stronger network to advance it B2B offerings and MVNO Platform.

TLP has been advising MetroPCS on this merger and other regulatory issues related to the transaction.  The transaction is subject to MetroPCS shareholder approval as well as approval from the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and Department of Justice (“DOJ”), among other customary closing conditions.  The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2013.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact TLP.   

TLP Featured in The New York Times DealBook

 In connection with the T-Mobile/MetroPCS proposed transaction, TLP was featured in a New York Times DealBook article “A Law Firm Name With a Curious Ring.”  The article interviews TLP Member Michael Lazarus and provides an overview on the firm’s history, as well as highlights TLP’s involvement in the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger. 

If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact us.