IT IS OFFICIAL. Google has big money in its bank account. It will file an application to participate in the 700MHz auction on Monday, the company said in a news release. Google's application will not include any partners.
"We believe it's important to put our money where our principles are," Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today's wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet."
We predicted Eric Schmidt's decision a while back. The speculation by pundits in the know is that Google will have to spend at least $4.6 billion of depreceated US Greenbacks for the 700MHz “C” block.
Consumers will be the winners in the auction, Chris Sacca, Google's head of special initiatives, wrote on the company's public policy bog.
"This is because the eventual winner of a key portion of this spectrum will be required to give its customers the right to download any application they want on their mobile device, and the right to use any device they want on the network," Sacca said. "That's meaningful progress in our ongoing efforts to help transform the relatively closed wireless world to be more like the open realm of the Internet."
What can he mean?
He revealed an FCC map of the available spectrum, which runs from 698-806MHz. The yellow sections have already been auctioned off. The gray sections are reserved for the nationwide public safety broadband network that PSST and vendor friends will build out over the next five to ten years. The remaining white sections A,B,C,D, and E blocks are what will be offered at auction early next year.
The big deals are the "C" and "D" blocks. The “C” block covers two 11MHz chunks of spectrum that can be bid on together, making 22MHz available for national commercial use. This is a prime spectrum that Verizon and others would like to get their hands on.
Maybe the USA will finally see SIMM card slots in their handsets like in Asia and Europe. Possibly running Google's Android open source mobile operating system.
Free Press, a media reform group, cheered Google's decision to bid. Combined with Verizon Wireless' announcement this week that it would open its network to outside devices and applications, the Google move will give more choices to consumers, said Ben Scott, Free Press' public policy director. µ
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