Web giant Google has ruled out participating in the upcoming auction of 600MHz spectrum currently used by the broadcasting industry, according to a report from Reuters.
The so-called "incentive" auction will see broadcasters compensated for relinquishing airwaves that can be used to boost mobile coverage inside buildings and in rural parts of the country.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s wireless ambitions appear to be growing and it has recently been looking into the use of millimeter wave radio technologies, which could provide much higher-speed mobile services as part of a future 5G standard. (See Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding.)
It is also promoting the use of 3.5GHz spectrum for mobile services and has launched its own mobile virtual network operator business, called Project Fi.
Given its increasing interest in mobile network technologies, a number of industry observers had expected the web giant to join mobile operators in bidding for 600MHz airwaves on March 29, when the auction is due to begin.
"Like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely," a spokesperson for the company is reported to have told Reuters. "That said, we have not filed to participate."
The decision suggests Google wants to concentrate its efforts on the much higher spectrum bands that would be used with millimeter wave radio technologies.
Over short distances, spectrum between 30GHz and 300GHz could be used to support much faster services than are possible with lower frequency bands.
As noted by Reuters, mobile operators AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US Inc. and cable giant Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have all confirmed they will take part in the 600MHz sale.
But Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), the country's third-biggest mobile operator, has chosen to sit out the auction, recently indicating it did not believe the process would deliver enough spectrum for high-speed communications. (See Sprint CFO: 600MHz Auction Will Not Deliver Enough Spectrum.)
Despite their wireless ambitions, other cable operators are also likely to skip the auction because of takeover activity. (See Comcast May Be Lone MSO Wireless Bidder.)
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading