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US: Comcast and Charter agree to not compete

 |  May 8, 2017

Comcast and Charter announced on Monday an agreement to cooperate in their plans to sell mobile phone service, an agreement that also forbids each company from making wireless mergers and acquisitions without the other’s consent for one year.

The deal could violate antitrust law, said Harold Feld, an attorney and senior VP of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge.

“One of the basic ideas of antitrust law is that when companies that compete with each other, or could compete with each other, make an explicit agreement to not compete with each other, that violates the antitrust laws,” Feld said. “Agreeing to coordinate with each other to avoid competition is expressly a violation of the antitrust laws.”

But that doesn’t mean Comcast and Charter won’t be able to follow through with their plan. It’s impossible to say with absolute certainty whether any specific agreement violates antitrust law, and “both Comcast and Charter have very good lawyers,” Feld said.

Comcast and Charter were asked about the antitrust implications of their deal on Monday, and Charter responded, “We believe this agreement is pro-competition. As two regional operators, this agreement is about exploring potential opportunities to find efficiencies, accelerate our launch and enhance our ability to participate in the national wireless marketplace. We don’t compete with Comcast.”

Full Content: ARS Technica UK

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