FCC to vote on wireless mergers

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin said Wednesday that the agency plans to vote on two key mergers involving wireless carriers next month, the Washington Post reports.

The five-member commission will vote Nov. 4 on the proposed $28.1 billion merger between Verizon Wireless and rural operator Alltel. If approved, the combined company would become the nation's largest wireless provider, with 80 million customers.

The FCC will also vote on the proposed merger between WiMax provider Clearwire and Sprint Nextel's Xohm business. The companies, along with Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House, agreed in May to a partnership that would create a nationwide broadband wireless network based on WiMax technology to compete with the services of giants Verizon and AT&T.

Martin said in a news conference yesterday that he wanted to push forward on the merger votes to help clear up uncertainty over those deals, particularly as the credit crisis is putting business plans in various industries in limbo.

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