[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 121 (Thursday, June 24, 1999)]
[Pages 33912-33913]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-16120]



Antitrust Division

United States v. Motorola, Inc. and Nextel Communications, Inc.

    Notice is hereby given that Nextel Communications, Inc. 
(``Nextel'') has moved to modify the Final Judgment entered by this 
Court on July 25, 1995. In a stipulation filed with the Court, the 
Department of Justice (``Department'') has tentatively consented to 
modification of the Judgment, but has reserved the right to withdraw 
its consent pending receipt of public comments. On October 27, 1994, 
the United States filed a civil antitrust complaint, United States v. 
Motorola, Inc. & Nextel Communications, Inc., Civil No. 1:94CV02331 
(TFH) (D.D.C.), seeking to enjoin a proposed transaction between Nextel 
and Motorola which, it alleged, would violate Section 7 of the Clayton 
Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 18. Nextel, then the nation's largest 
provider of specialized mobile radio(``SMR''), or dispatch services, 
had agreed to acquire most of Motorola's dispatch business. The 
complaint alleged that the Nextel/Motorola transaction was likely to 
reduce competition substantially in fifteen (15) major cities in the 
United States in the market for trunked SMR services.
    The Final Judgment, filed contemporaneously with the complaint and 
entered by the Court on July 25, 1995, after review pursuant to the 
Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 16(b)-(h), 
contained three provisions designed to remedy the anticompetitive 
effects of the transaction: (1) Nextel and Motorola were required to 
divest themselves of substantially all of their SMR channels in the 900 
MHZ radio band and to release, upon request of the license holders, 
substantially all the 900 MHZ SMR channels they managed in a number of 
large cities; (2) Nextel and Motorola, jointly, were prohibited from 
holding or acquiring more than thirty (30) 900 MHZ channels in Boston, 
Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami,Orlando, 
New York, Philadelphia, Denver, and Washington, DC (the ``Category A 
Cities''), and ten (10) 900 MHZ channels in Detroit and Seattle (the 
``Category B Cities''); and (3) Nextel and Motorola were required to 
sell 42 800 MHZ channels to an independent service provider in Atlanta, 
Georgia. These provisions were specifically designed to preserve 
competition for trunked SMR customers by limiting for ten years the 900 
MHZ spectrum Nextel and Motorola would own and control and by ensuring 
that there would be sufficient 900 MHZ capacity to permit the entry of 
new trunked SMR service providers.
    Many of the 900 MHZ channels divested pursuant to the Final 
Judgment were acquired by Geotek Communications, Inc. (``Geotek''), 
which acquired additional 900 MHZ channels and used the spectrum to 
offer dispatch services in competition with Nextel. However, Geotek's 
efforts to enter the dispatch market ultimately failed, and its sizable 
blocks of the 900 MHz licenses in metropolitan areas nationwide will be 
available for use by some other firm.
    On February 16, 1999, Nextel filed a Motion to Vacate Consent 
Decree, a motion which, if granted, would have allowed Nextel to 
acquire the Geotek licenses, as well as additional 900 MHZ spectrum. 
The United States opposed Nextel's request for immediate termination of 
the decree. The Court scheduled an evidentiary hearing on Nextel's 
motion to vacate the decree to begin on June 14, 1999. Thereafter, on 
the eve of that hearing, the United States and Nextel reached agreement 
on the terms of a proposed modification of the Final Judgment, and 
signed a Stipulation reflecting that agreement, as well as their 
agreement that proceedings in connection with Nextel's motion to vacate 
the decree should be stayed

[[Page 33913]]

pending final resolution of the motion for proposed modification of the 
    The terms of the proposed modification would (1) prohibit Nextel 
from acquiring Geotek's 900 MHZ licenses in the Category A and B 
Cities; (2) increase the limits on Nextel's and Motorola's 900 MHZ 
channels, to permit them to hold or acquire up to one hundred eight 
(108) 900 MHZ channels in the Category A Cities, and fifty-four (54) 
900 MHZ channels in the Category B Cities; and (3) terminate the 
Modified Final Judgment on October 30, 2000. Finally, the proposed 
modification would vacate the provision of the Final Judgment that 
alters the standard of review for modification as of July 25, 2000.
    The Department and Nextel have filed memoranda with the Court 
setting forth the reasons why they believe that modification of the 
Final Judgment would serve the public interest. Copies of Nextel's 
motion to modify, the stipulation containing the Department's consent, 
the supporting memoranda, and all additional papers filed with the 
Court in connection with this motion will be available for inspection 
at the Antitrust Documents Group of the Antitrust Division, U.S. 
Department of Justice, Room 215, Liberty Place Building, 325 7th 
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004, and at the Office of the Clerk of 
the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Copies 
of these materials may be obtained from the Antitrust Division upon 
request and payment of the duplicating fee determined by Department of 
Justice regulations.
    Interested persons may submit comments regarding the proposed 
termination of the Judgment to the Department. Such comments must be 
received by the Antitrust Division within thirty (30) days. The 
Department will publish in the Federal Register and file with the Court 
any comments and responses thereto. Comments should be addressed to 
Donald J. Russell, Chief, Telecommunications Task Force, Antitrust 
Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 1401 H Street, N.W., Suite 8000, 
Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone (202) 514-6381.
Constance K. Robinson,
Director of Operations and Merger Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 99-16120 Filed 6-23-99; 8:45 am]