AT&T's decision to purchase T-Mobile could throw a monkey wrench in a key Federal Communications Commission (FCC) goal: Convincing Congress to pass incentive auction legislation this year.
Paul Gallant at MF Global said in a note to clients Wednesday: "We believe the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile transaction reduces the likelihood of legislation this year that would facilitate the movement of spectrum from broadcast TV and government uses into the commercial wireless market."
The chances of passing spectrum legislation could rise again in 2012 and 2013, he said. He placed the odds of major spectrum legislation this year at 35 percent.
The FCC's top priority recently has been freeing up airwaves for mobile broadband use, but the agency needs legislation before it can move on auctions that would allow it to do so.