Among the most vocal opponents of the deal has been the labor union that represents more than 40,000 Verizon employees, the Communications Workers of America. That group is locked in a contract dispute with Verizon, and McFadden suggested that it has orchestrated its opposition campaign to the cable deal as a bargaining chip to gain leverage in those negotiations.
He pointed out that, in practice, Verizon Wireless stores would promote the services of the cable companies alongside Verizon FiOS, giving consumers a plain choice and intensifying, rather than eroding, competition between the providers.
Critics counter that, inevitably, the joint operating agreement will lead to a cessation of hostilities, partitioning the marketplace among entrenched wireless and cable providers. Any approval of the deal, they contend, must be conditional and include safeguards to protect competition in specific markets.
"Rather than trying to come up with better products or lower prices the cable companies and Verizon have entered into a sweetheart deal," said David Balto, an antitrust expert and former assistant policy director at the Federal Trade Commission. "No matter how you try to dress this up, this is just simply a cartel in disguise."
Read more about mobile/wireless in CIO's Mobile/Wireless Drilldown.