Yesterday was perhaps a very big day in the proposed merger of Sirius and XM. In what is being viewed as landmark changes, and a step away from precedence, the FCC voted 4-1 to adopt new rules for the spectrum auction of the 700MHz band. The new rules give outside companies a shot at competing, via a wireless alternative, with the telecom and cable giants in the industry.
Analyst Blair Levin of Stifel Nicholaus went so far as to say that these new rules may be what determine the legacy of Kevin Martin.
For Sirius and XM, the news that this FCC commission is not afraid to look at things in a new light is likely very welcomed. As if that was not enough though, perhaps it was a comment about the competitive landscape by Martin that represents the icing on the cake.
At one point Chairman Martin was asked about competition between internet, telecom, and broadcasters. Martin replied, “Technology is allowing all of those companies to increasingly compete with each other… it’s harder and harder to say broadcasters aren’t competing cable operators, that cable operators aren’t competing with telephone companies, that wire-line and wireless aren’t competing for consumers’ dollars and attention. What you’re seeing is the technology increasingly allowing all of these platforms to compete head to head.”
That is a pretty powerful statement made by Chairman Martin, and a statement that illustrates that he is cognoscente of the fact that not only is technology is rapidly developing, but crossover into broader areas of business is happening as well.
Such an acknowledgement by Martin illustrates that broader thinking needs to be at least considered by the FCC, and for fans of the satellite radio merger, such words are music to their ears.
Position – Long Sirius, Long XM