December 15, 1995
Re: Sprint Corporation Petition for Declaratory Ruling
I strongly support our decision today approving the investment by France Telecom (FT) and Deutsche Telekom (DT) in Sprint. Sprint now joins U.S. carriers like MCI and AT&T in establishment of a global alliance that will enable it to respond to the demand for seamless global services. Sprint's participation will further enhance the role of U.S. companies in the provision of global services around the world that will redound to the benefit of the U.S. economy and U.S. consumers. The $4 billion investment will also provide valuable funding for Sprint's entry into the domestic PCS market in partnership with cable companies.
Our decision today is our first application of the policy articulated in our Foreign Carrier Order. We stated that we seek to increase opportunities for foreign carriers in the U.S. and to encourage foreign countries to remove the entry barriers that exist in their telecommunications markets. Our actions here mirror our words.
There should be no mistake about the basis for our decision. Our willingness to approve the investment of two foreign monopoly carriers in Sprint -- despite the absence of effective competitive opportunities in their markets -- is expressly predicated on the commitments and representations of the German and French governments to open their telecommunications markets to competition on a rigorous timetable.
I do not doubt the good faith and the seriousness with which the commitments to liberalization by the German and French Governments have been made. There is every reason to believe that progress toward competition in those markets will continue. Indeed, in light of our dominant carrier regulation of Sprint on the French and German routes, I would have preferred not to impose circuit limitations unless, contrary to our expectations, alternative infrastructure timetables are not met and U.S. companies are not permitted the opportunity to resell switched voice services in the near future. Failure to meet those milestones would rock the foundations of our approval of this transaction.
For as forcefully as I advocate today in favor of allowing this transaction meaningfully to go forward in the true spirit of liberalization, I would just as staunchly support the imposition of restrictions on Sprint if these markets remain closed to U.S. carriers and FT and DT continue to enjoy the unfair competitive advantages created by their monopoly power.
Today's decision will enhance the competitiveness of another U.S. carrier in the global market. It is also undeniably a vote of confidence in our partners in France and Germany. We fully expect that their liberalization commitments will become reality and that together we will continue to make significant progress toward the creation of the Global Information Infrastructure.