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Google Confirms 700MHz Bid

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has confirmed it will bid on 700 MHz wireless spectrum in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctions in January, a move that could further open up American airwaves. The company said today what it has been dancing around for months: It will bid on the spectrum that is opening up as the analog TV broadcasters move to digital. (See Google Still Mulling 700MHz Bid.) "Here at Google, we see the upcoming 700 megahertz spectrum auction at the Federal Communications Commission as one of the best opportunities consumers will have to enjoy more choices in the world of wireless devices," reads the company's official blog.

"Regardless of how the auction unfolds, we think it's important to put our money where our principles are. Consumers deserve more choices and more competition than they have in the wireless world today," the blog continues. (See Google's 700MHz Bet.)

The FCC wants a $4.6 billion reserve bid to be met on the C-band of 700 MHz spectrum in order to apply so-called "open access" rules to the bandwidth. These rules mean that the winner of this spectrum will have to give users the right to use any device and download any application they want.

The government agency agreed to the open access rules after Google said it would match the $4.6 billion reserve the FCC wants for the spectrum. (See FCC Straddles Open Access Issue and 'Open Access' Gets Closer.)

Such openness would work in the search giant's favor, because users could download its Android mobile operating system and related applications without specific carrier approval. Google still isn't making it exactly clear how it will use the spectrum if it wins the auction, however.

Google's decision to bid is the second big news event of the week for open access advocates. Verizon Wireless , which had initially opposed the FCC plans, said Tuesday that it plans to open up its CDMA network in 2008 and its 4G LTE network, anticipated to be rolled out after 2010. (See Verizon Tears Down the 'Walled Garden' and AT&T Bags 700 MHz for $2.5B.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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