This News Release: Text | Word97
Statements: Furchtgott-Roth | Tristani
DA 99-1200: Text | Word97 | Acrobat

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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
TTY: 202/418-2555

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

June 22, 1999

News Media contact:
Meribeth McCarrick at (202) 418-0654


The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau), on delegated authority, has approved the merger of AirTouch Communications, Inc. (AirTouch) and Vodafone Group, Plc. (Vodafone), subject to certain conditions. The Bureau concluded that the merger does not present competitive concerns, and that its approval serves the public interest.

The adopted Order grants the applications filed by AirTouch and Vodafone pursuant to sections 214 and 310(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 (the Act), as amended, for approval to transfer AirTouch's licenses and authorizations to Vodafone. In accordance with the terms of sections 214(a) and 310(d), the FCC cannot grant such applications unless applicants demonstrate that the transfer of the licenses and authorization will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.

Under section 310(d) of the Act, the Bureau analyzed the effects on competition of the proposed transfer of control. Because AirTouch and Vodafone do not compete against each other in any U.S. markets, the Bureau found that the proposed merger will not have adverse effects on competition. The Bureau also considered Petitions to Deny and Comments filed by several parties. These parties raised pending commercial disputes involving AirTouch as well as FCC proceedings involving AirTouch that have since been resolved in favor of AirTouch. The Bureau found that none of these filings raised issues that would preclude grant of these applications.

Under section 310(b)(4) of the Act, the Bureau also analyzed the foreign ownership aspect of the proposed merger. Since the United Kingdom is a member of the World Trade Organization, the Bureau found that, under the Commission's Foreign Participation Order, there would be no public interest concerns raised by allowing common carrier radio licenses to be acquired by entities indirectly owned by Vodafone and citizens of the United Kingdom. Therefore, the Bureau found that Vodafone and its U.K. shareholders may acquire indirect ownership of AirTouch subsidiaries holding common carrier radio licenses.

The Bureau has approved the merger subject to the companies' compliance with provisions of the June 18, 1999, Agreement between Vodafone, AirTouch and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Defense (DOD) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Agreement is intended to resolve national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues raised in the DOJ, DOD and FBI comments in this proceeding.

Action by the Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, June 21, 1999, by Memorandum Opinion and Order (DA 99-1200). Statements by Commissioners Furchtgott-Roth and Tristani.

News Media Contact: Meribeth McCarrick at (202) 418-0654; TTY at (202) 418-7233 Wireless Telecommunications Bureau contacts: Lauren Kravetz at (202) 418-7240 (Commercial Wireless Division); TTY at (202) 418-7233

WT Report No. 99-18

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