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Summary:

Things are getting exciting and the mud-slinging continues. Nothing like big companies going at each other to make a Friday more exciting. Google intends to be a bidder in wireless auctions for the 700 MHz spectrum, and their new proposal doesn’t sit well with AT&T. (Surprise! […]

attlogo.pngThings are getting exciting and the mud-slinging continues. Nothing like big companies going at each other to make a Friday more exciting. Google intends to be a bidder in wireless auctions for the 700 MHz spectrum, and their new proposal doesn’t sit well with AT&T. (Surprise! Surprise!) Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs in a written statement emailed to us said:

Not satisfied with a compromise proposal from Chairman Martin that meets most of its conditions, Google has now delivered an all or nothing ultimatum to the U.S. Government, insisting that every single one of their conditions “must” be met or they will not participate in the spectrum auction.

Google is demanding the Government stack the deck in its favor, limit competing bids, and effectively force wireless carriers to alter their business models to Google’s liking. We would repeat that Google should put up or shut up— they can bid and enter the wireless market with any business model they prefer, then let consumers decide which model they like best.

  1. Hey GigaOM! This is sounding like it can become a mud fight in the telecom industry. This sounds fun. I’d like it if you could answer these questions I have about the technologies in question:

    • Is the winning bid going to be using Mobile WiMAX on this 700MHZ spectrum? Is there any other kind of wireless broadband technology that suits better or worse in that frequency range?

    • How will this 700MHZ Mobile WiMAX be different from the one Sprint and Clearwire are building for next year? Can Mobile WiMAX equipment that is made for 700MHZ be compatible with 2500MHZ?

    • Can one deploy a 700MHZ network very cheaply by installing FON routers type of 10 dollar small boxes into people’s homes which would take adsl/cable/fiber that people have at home and no matter which provider they use, and broadcast that signal on 700MHZ, maybe Mobile WiMAX down onto the streets and nabourhood? Do you think such approach could automatically be scalable with more than one of such boxes installed per building, with clever bandwidth throttling and users still logging in through a centrally controlled DNS login just as with FON? Could FCC force all ISPs to accept that this FON approach be undertaken?

    • If this Flower Box model for a cheap and quick deployment of 700MHZ Mobile WiMAX would work, why isn’t Google suggesting FCC that they can make this happen and guarantee free mobile broadband access to all Americans during a specific limited amount of time, for example 5 years? Could bandwidth quality be guaranteed in the and be part of the bid? Since I think slow bandwidth could maybe be free and advertising supported while higher prioritized bandwidth could cost money.

    • Do you know what the status is for what the UHF 700MHZ frequency is going to be used for in Europe and other countries where they also are phasing out the old fashionned analogic terrestrial television?

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  2. Pshht. I rather have Google win. At least the potential for something new and interesting is there. AT&T is such an archaic company. The only thing interesting and progressive about its offerings is an Apple product.

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  3. Smitty Smit Friday, July 20, 2007

    Let us not forget that Google is invested in internet of power lines technology. They could use this to power their wireless routers all over the country.

    As usual, G is a few steps ahead..

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  4. Hmmm Google Network infrastructure, Apple edge devices….. Synergies…. Hmmmmmm gooogle data centers….old PSTN switching fabric … hmmmmmm xserves …. wireless last mile ….

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  5. I agree with Raymond, at least Google winning some spectrum would spice up the wireless space a bit. It would force a long overdue change in business model.

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  6. I don’t understand. When did Google threaten that “they will not participate in the spectrum auction”? And even if they did present such threats, why would the government care? All they said was that they will participate in the auction if all their conditions for open-ness is met. I also did not see anything to indicate that Google is seeking to limit competing bids.

    AT&T’s statement makes no sense to me.

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  7. +1 also for what Craig and Raymond said. Despite the fact that we may all regret (and snicker) at believing in “Do no evil” down the road, at least we’ll have some fresh faces, minds, and thinking in the telecom space.

    Finally.

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  8. looks like the good old boys of telecom are afraid of competition. Go Google, open up the wireless market. ATT is pissed because if there is an spectrum then the iPhone isnt as great because then it is possible could be used on the open network.

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  9. “Put up or shut up” indeed… A federal agency is creating an auction which will generate as much cash as possible while trying to balance that against the public interest (increase productivity/lower prices for data access). AT&T has certainly influenced this board with their own position. When Google does the same (in a fashion that is much more focused on the public interest), AT&T’s response is to misrepresent Google’s letter (read it…it’s not an ultimatum, it’s a public-spirited encouragement for the federal agency to be more public-spirited).

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  10. Where is Microsoft in all of this? They have more cash than anyone and surely of interest in this future access.

    They could certainly outbid Google.

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