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FCC OKs VoiceStream, Omnipoint Deal
Posted: 16-Feb-2000 [Source: AP]

[The FCC approved the acquisition of Omnipoint Corp paving the way for VoiceStream to expand its US footprint. A shareholder vote is scheduled for 24-Feb.]

Washington -- "Regulators signed off Tuesday on VoiceStream Wireless' acquisition of Omnipoint Corp., a deal that positions the companies to create a wireless network across a large part of the nation to compete with other carriers.

"The Federal Communications Commission said because the companies had agreed to various divestitures, the deal did not present competitive concerns and would likely result in various benefits to the public.

"To receive approval, the companies agreed to shed certain interests and comply with an agreement with law enforcement officials to address national security and public policy issues.

"Federal rules limit the slice of airwaves that any one company can have in a certain market. The FCC gave the companies three months to comply with the law in 18 markets where they have overlapping properties.

"VoiceStream also had to agree to certain national security requirements with the Department of Justice and the FBI. Those include assurances that no foreign entity will have more than a 40 percent interest in the company and that the company would protect the confidentiality of certain proprietary information in accordance with U.S. law.

"The FCC found the deal would not pose a risk of harm to the U.S. market and in fact, would enable the company to compete more effectively with other major providers of PCS wireless service.

"The deal gives the company its own near-nationwide wireless footprint. Omnipoint, based in Bethesda, Md., operates in the New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami and Detroit markets.

"VoiceStream, spun off by Western Wireless Corp. in May, operates in 13 western states. It is based in Bellevue, Wash.

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