Apple Joining Consortium Bid for 700MHz?

8:00 AM -- It looks as if the cream of Silicon Valley is lining up against the big telcos as they all bid for a slice of the 700MHz spectrum due to go up for auction next January.

The latest reports suggest that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is joining a Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-led group to bid on the wireless broadband bandwidth. (See FCC Straddles Open Access Issue.)

This makes good sense for the software and hardware titans of tech-world, since winning a bid could represent a total outlay of $10 billion or thereabouts for the companies involved. Ouch!

Nonetheless, I suspect that -- even if they win -- Apple, Google, and others will partner with an established carrier to run the service. One look at the difficulties Google has had bringing a free WiFi network to fruition in San Francisco will show you why the IT giants would still need an experienced partner in such a new venture. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) looks to me like the logical choice at the moment, but that could change over time. (See SF Muni Project on the Ropes.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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