The Verizon (VZ) vs. Google (GOOG) squabble over the 700 MHz auction is getting nastier and nastier. A few weeks ago, Verizon went to the courts, seeking to block the Federal Communications Commission from adding open-access provisions to the auction of airwaves that are considered beachfront […]

The Verizon (VZ) vs. Google (GOOG) squabble over the 700 MHz auction is getting nastier and nastier. A few weeks ago, Verizon went to the courts, seeking to block the Federal Communications Commission from adding open-access provisions to the auction of airwaves that are considered beachfront property when it comes to wireless broadband.

RCR Wireless reports that Verizon might have been doing some behind-the-scenes lobbying in order to get the provisions watered down. In a blog post, Google is taking issue with Verizon’s contention, and points out that they have been in touch with the FCC.

Verizon appears to be arguing that two of the key provisions in the auction rules designed to spur competition — the requirements for open devices and open applications — should not apply to a licensee’s own devices that use this block of 700 MHz spectrum. Their theory is that so long as “unlocked” devices (those that can be configured to work with any network) are theoretically available to consumers through other means, the winning bidder in the auction shouldn’t be required to make its devices open as well. From our perspective, this view ignores the realities of the U.S. wireless market, where some 95 percent of handsets are sold in retail stores run by the large carriers.

We should expect a volley from Verizon any moment now.

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  1. It’s true that most of the phones are sold by the carriers, but Verizon does bring up a decent point. No one makes consumers buy their phones from the networks, they do it because consumers can’t resist instant gratification, even if it means being locked into non-competitive monthly service pricing. When I bought my phone, I made sure that it was unlocked. Now I can use prepaid and save a bundle. If consumers are willing to give up their rights in exchange for that quick fix, should regulators really be messing with that? I think it’s important for consumers to have options, but I also think businesses should have rights over how they want to price their services.

  2. Abhishek Tiwari Wednesday, October 3, 2007

    Rise of GoogNet, Verizon Doesn’t Think So

    If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

    Most of you know about Google throwing in the gauntlet in the wireless game. I have extensively covered some of that in this blog. Read the first four posts her…

  3. Raymond Padilla Thursday, October 4, 2007


    I don’t think most consumers know that they can save a bundle by going the prepaid route. Most people know the “big four” carriers (thanks to heavy marketing) and maybe a regional or two. Ergo most consumers buy their phones from the big four.

    I admit, that I’m ignorant of the prepaid market and what it offers, but I’d love to learn more. What are the good prepaid carriers that can help me save a bundle?

  4. TeleTips Network » Blog Archive Thursday, October 4, 2007

    [...] about the technology industry with a focus on telecoms and the Internet.  Today he covered news of Verizon Wireless and Google jockeying for position prior in the American 700 MHz spectrum auctions coming in January.  It’s clear that both sides [...]

  5. This issue will eventually take care of itself. The real future is in WiMax – wireless broadband internet service nationwide. When the WiMax network is complete you can throw out your proprietary cell phones and simply buy one that works on the “open” internet protocol. You can already buy internet phones today – go to Skype.com and click on “Shop.”

    Goodbye Verizon Wireless – you’ve taken my money long enough!


  6. [wireless]-Google slams Verizon over 700MHz auction rules « More news – Mal Thursday, October 4, 2007

    [...] [Via GigaOm] [...]

  7. Google slams Verizon over 700MHz auction rules Thursday, October 4, 2007

    [...] [Via GigaOm] [...]

  8. Google kind of caught in a trap here. If they lower themselves to the same [ gutter ] level as Verizon and start down the pay-to-play…err, I mean “campaign contributions through reputable lobbyists” path to get their way, they’ll have lost by doing evil.
    If they don’t start bribing…oops, I mean “contributing” the telcos will have them removed from the auction.

  9. Om, this is beginning to sound a whole lot like the section 629 arguments over cablecard in the late 90’s. The cable companies and Commissioner Powell (before he was Chairman) argued that as long as some 3rd parties were offering cablecard boxes, the cable companies should be able to offer closed boxes — after all, consumers would theoretically have an open alternative and why should the cable companies be required to build higher cost boxes.

    Incumbent telecom companies hate open devices. From Carterfone until now, the key to competitive telcom markets is mass availability of open devices.

  10. Buenos Aires Me Duele Thursday, October 4, 2007


  11. The Last Minute Blog – links for 2007-10-05 Thursday, October 4, 2007

    [...] 700 MHz Auction: Google Takes Another Shot At Verizon « GigaOM oh snap! (tags: fcc tech 700mhz) [...]

  12. AT&T Buys 700 MHz Spectrum Licenses « GigaOM Tuesday, October 9, 2007

    [...] Om Malik Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 8:28 AM PT | No comments As Google (GOOG) and Verizon (VZ) duke it out over the forthcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction, AT&T (T) has decided to spend the money [...]

  13. 700 MHz Scenarios « stop motion Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    [...] (GOOG) and the telecom companies – mainly Verizon (VZ) – have been publicly fighting over the auction of the spectrum. Although I think Google’s open-access proposals are [...]

  14. Google’s Internet Plan plays into their bid for the wireless spectrum: http://fishtrain.com/2007/10/10/googles-internet-plan/

  15. Apple iPhone Blog » Google slams Verizon over 700MHz auction rules Saturday, October 13, 2007

    [...] [Via GigaOm] [...]

  16. Sean on Life» Blog Archive » The Google Two-step Monday, November 5, 2007

    [...] to open up their platforms by providing a new challenge. It’s very similar to Google’s threat to participate in the 700 Mhz [...]

  17. The Google Phone Won’t Open Up the Wireless Industry – GigaOM Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    [...] anticipated that given Google’s focus on opening up the 700 MHz auction, pushing white spaces broadband and investment in WiMAX, the Nexus One also would be a [...]

  18. Google Doesn’t Want to Be an ISP — It Wants to Be a Rabble-rouser – GigaOM Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    [...] manager for alternative access at Google. Her group works on such issues as white spaces broadband, spectrum auctions and Google’s filings with the FCC related to the National Broadband [...]

  19. Worried About Tablets, FCC Gets Serious About Spectrum: Tech News « Thursday, October 21, 2010

    [...] to place rules on the auction process that will lead to the largest advantage for them. In the 700 MHz auction in 2008, Google did a stand out job of pushing for rules that opened up the types of devices carriers must deploy on networks using [...]

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