“Google’s going to bid. Google representative: Our goal is to make sure that American consumers have more choices in an open and competitive wireless world. FCC rules require us to reveal our plans by December 3, and we fully intend to do so. In the meantime, we are making all the necessary preparations to become an applicant to bid in the auction.”
For those who haven’t followed the news on this topic, the 700Mhz spectrum is a wireless spectrum that was formerly used for analog TV broadcasting in the United States. Since the requirement of TV having to go digital, this spectrum will come free. It’s a highly efficient broadband wireless network and spans nation-wide.
This spectrum will be auctioned off to one of the participating bidders on January 28th, 2008. Companies entering are Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Frontline Wireless and Google. One of the proposed provisions was the requirement to keep the acquired network open for anyone to access. This would mean that the winning bidder could lease bandwidth at wholesale to any interested company for whatever device.
Currently, the wireless telecommunication companies have a suffocating clamp on the conventional wireless networks and are in a powerful position. This stranglehold could be loosened if Google wins the auction and is serious about the open access thing — which in general, would be a good thing. Because of competition, consumers will get more choice.
It’s obvious that Google is up to something with the wireless space. Recently, it has also announced it mobile (OS) platform called Android. It would turn out to be some kind of open-source (Linux?) operating system that could potentially run on any mobile device. Many of the better device makers have already consented to manufacturing compliant devices. Combine Android, the Open Handsets-principle and the pending 700Mhz-auction: whatever results from it, we’ll be seeing some pioneering stuff happening with Google in the mobile space in the near future.
If all of this takes place and and turns out to be sucessful, might cause it to cross over-seas. There has been talk of an auction of a similar spectrum in the UK, in which Google might also want a stake.