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Google to bid alone in FCC’s auction of 700 MHz band

Fri, 11/30/2007 - 8:00am
Traci Patterson

Google officially announced today that it will apply to participate in the FCC’s upcoming wireless spectrum auction in the 700 MHz band. The Web giant will file its formal application, without any partners, on Monday.

As part of the digital transition, the 700 MHz spectrum auction - which begins Jan. 24 - will free up spectrum airwaves for “more efficient wireless Internet service for consumers,” Google said.

"We believe it's important to put our money where our principles are," said Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google. "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."

Schmidt praised the leadership of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his fellow commissioners for adopting the new rights for consumers earlier this year.

The Web giant is currently running a test version of an advanced wireless network at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. If Google wins the spectrum, the testing would give the company some operating experience to run a full-scale national mobile network, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

The bid could square Google off with the major wireless carriers, AT&T and Verizon, who need the spectrum to expand their broadband offerings and support advanced services such as mobile TV.

In July, Google said it intended to participate in the auction of spectrum in the 700 MHz band if the FCC adopted a framework requiring greater competition and consumer choice. Google urged the Commission to adopt four open platforms as part of the license conditions: open applications, devices, services and networks. The FCC has decided to support two of the open access principles: open applications and devices.

This month, Google - along with T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and other companies - announced the companies’ collaboration for the development of Android through the Open Handset Alliance. The alliance’s goal is to foster innovation on mobile devices and give consumers a better user experience through open standards.

The Android platform is a fully integrated mobile “software stack” that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. The first Android cell phones are expected to be available in the second half of 2008.

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