Despite skepticism from competitors, Verizon Wireless announced that a total of 36 entities expressed interest in purchasing 700MHz spectrum bands from the company.

Verizon offered up A and B block spectrum in the 700MHz range as a good faith sale to convince the FCC to approve the company's proposed purchase of unused AWS spectrum from cable companies.

Verizon Wireless also announced that 36 unnamed entities signed non-disclosure agreements to receive more information concerning the deal.

As part of the deal with cable companies, Verizon proposes to partner with the likes of Comcast and Time Warner to offer consumer packages that include cable, internet, digital phone and mobile phone service all in one.

But critics of Verizon's proposal say it's a threat to competition.

The nitty-gritty

Verizon purchased the A, B and C blocks of the 700MHz band in 2008 for $9.4 billion, and they used the C-block to launch the beginnings of their 4G LTE network for smartphones.

The AWS band Verizon is attempting to purchase from cable companies is currently not being used, although Verizon's competitors have claimed that it's some of the last AWS spectrum available anywhere.

Granting it to Verizon, T-Mobile senior VP Tom Sugrue told the FCC in April, would be a waste of valuable AWS spectrum, since Verizon isn't using the AWS spectrum they already have.

The FCC regulates such deals closely since spectrum bands are limited and should be used in a way that benefits the public.

As a show of good faith, Verizon offered up the 700MHz A and B blocks for sale, although Sugrue said last month that those bands are practically useless due to commercial interference and a lack of compatible devices.

The Senate subcommittee disapproves

T-Mobile and Verizon's other competitors aren't the only ones who are concerned about the deal.

The Senate's antitrust subcommittee chairman Sen. Herb Kohl wrote the following to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski:

"In brief, without reaching any final judgment as to the legality of these transactions under the antitrust laws or Communications Act, I believe these transactions present serious competition concerns which should be examined closely by your agencies."

Verizon defended the proposal, saying "the Lower 700MHz A and B bands are not as good a complement to our existing spectrum holdings as is the AWS spectrum," implying that the two are comparable assets, though many disagree on that point.

Via PC Mag