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February 15, 2000


Re: Voicestream Wireless Corporation or Omnipoint Corporation, and Voicestream Wireless Holding Company, Cook Inlet/VS GSM II PCS, LLC or Cook Inlet/VS GSM II PCS, LLC, and various subsidiaries and affiliates of Omnipoint Corporation, and Cook Inlet/VS GSM II PCS, LLC or Cook Inlet/VS GSM III PCS, LLC Application for Consent to Transfer of Control and Assignment of Licenses and Authorizations

I fully support today's decision to grant transfer of these licenses. I write separately to express my continued disappointment with the agency's approach to these transactions.

On the positive side, much of today's Order focuses on legitimate agency concerns regarding the merged licensee's compliance with our existing rules and implementing our WTO obligations vis-à-vis foreign ownership. These analyses are properly related to the license transfers at issue. Similarly conditions based on our spectrum aggregation rules are appropriate if a license transfer would result in a violation of those standards. Nonetheless, to the extent the order purports to engage in a "market analysis," such concerns are outside the scope of our public interest authority and duplicative of the work of other agencies. (1) As I have stressed repeatedly, our goal should be a license transfer process that is efficient, transparent, predictable, and consistent.

I am also concerned about one other aspect of today's decision: the hijacking of our license transfer authority by other government agencies. (2) More specifically, the FBI and Justice Department continue to use our licensing process to extract concessions from licensees in exchange for this agency's approval of the transfer. The DOJ and FBI once again filed their FCC pleadings after the comment period had ended and then engaged in lengthy closed-door negotiations that further delayed the Commission's approval process. (3) The subsequent agreement once again creates a questionable FCC role in enforcement of these side agreements. If disputes arise between the private parties and federal law enforcement officials, the FCC will be cast in the unfortunate role of enforcer. Our resources are most effectively deployed doing our own job, without adding Justice Department and FBI responsibilities. In the final analysis, I believe our processes should not be modified or delayed to facilitate these other governmental parties. I look forward to developing a resolution to this issue that gives other government agencies an opportunity to comment on our licensing decisions, without ceding our responsibility to provide fair and efficient consideration of these applications.

For the foregoing reasons, I would have granted today's transfer applications, but in a far more streamlined proceeding.

1. I am also uncomfortable with the use of a license transfer proceeding to address objections based on Omnipoint's pioneer's preference. Those issues are not related to the actual transfer of these licenses and, in my view, would be better addressed in a separate proceeding.

2. For a more detailed discussion of the concerns raised by this process, see Separate Statement of Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth in AT&T Corp., British Telecommunications, plc, VLT Co. L.L.C., Violet License Co. LLC, and TNV [Bahamas] Limited Applications for Grant of Section 214 Authority, Modification of Authorizations and Assignment of Licenses in Connection with the Proposed Joint Venture Between AT&T Corp. and British Telecommunications, plc, IB Docket No. 98-212, FCC 99-313 (rel. October 29, 1999); Separate Statement of Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth in SatCom Systems Inc., TMI Communications and Company, L.P. and SatCom Systems Inc., File No. 647-DSE-P/L-98 et al (rel. November 30, 1999).

3. It continues to baffle me as to why the FBI and DOJ are incapable of meeting our filing deadlines. See e.g. SatCom Systems (DOJ/FBI Comments filed 11 months late). Such disregard for our rules undermines orderly decision making and inhibits other parties' abilities to respond to the issues raised by these pleadings.