BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless today filed suit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, asking the Court to direct the FCC to comply with the Court's order from June 2001. The FCC must return more than $1.7 billion of Verizon Wireless' funds, which had been a deposit toward the full payment of those licenses, and must confirm that the reauction obligations are extinguished, because the FCC didn't have the spectrum it sold. A copy of the "Petition to Enforce the Mandate" is available on the Verizon Wireless website.
The following may be attributed to Denny Strigl, Verizon Wireless president and CEO:
"Last February, one year ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctioned off 216 wireless licenses. Verizon Wireless was the successful bidder on 67 licenses, offering a total of $8.7 billion and making the required $1.7 billion deposit with the government.
"The FCC failed to deliver the licenses. In fact, a federal court held that the licenses were not the government's to reauction, but are owned by NextWave, which had bought the licenses in a previous auction. Six months after completion of the reauction, the FCC formally turned the licenses over to NextWave.
"The FCC has neither delivered the licenses to us in the year since the reauction's close, nor has it recognized that the auction is void. Instead, the FCC continues to hold Verizon Wireless' $1.7 billion, without paying any interest. In addition to tying up this capital, the loss of interest alone is costing Verizon Wireless more than $250,000 a day - $80 million in lost interest already. The government is also holding the money NextWave paid for licenses in the earlier auction.
"The FCC's inability to deliver the licenses within a reasonable time frame invalidates the reauction. At the time of the reauction, we bid for the licenses based on our ability to put them to prompt use. Our bids assumed an ability to build out, generate revenue, and meet capacity demands during 2001. But because the FCC did not deliver the licenses, we have been unable to derive any value from them throughout 2001 and have had to incur additional costs in making alternative arrangements to satisfy capacity demands.
"The FCC's actions - insisting that Verizon Wireless remain bound by the auction, delivering nothing in return, banking Verizon Wireless' deposit money without interest, while giving the licenses away to an earlier auction bidder - are unlawful."
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the leading wireless communications provider in the U.S., with the largest wireless network and more than 29.4 million customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.
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