If you have been following the drama around the 700 MHz wireless spectrums, then you know a lot of mud has been flung around by all parties involved: FCC’s Kevin Martin, The Google Camp, Frontline Wireless, and of course the incumbents, AT&T and Verizon. They are all trying to basically control the piece of spectrum that is going to be vacated when analog television shuts down. The spectrum is going to be auctioned off in February.
This morning, Eric Schmidt sent a letter to the FCC and said Google will also bid for the spectrum in the wireless auctions, and have indicated that they are going to bid a minimum of $4.6 billion, as per requirements. This is a gutsy move by the search giant: it is saying we got the money and we will spend it to get our way.
Google is using money to force the issue – something Microsoft used to do. They know Bells have some, if not many financial constraints.
Given how much money they have tied up in new efforts like 3G and broadband upgrades, the Bells should be looking at an auction which can get as crazy as the auction for a rare Rembrandt.
Google’s proposal liberally throws around the word, OPEN: open apps, open platform, open devices, open services and open network. Those are nice words. But in reality no one commits spending $4.6 billion (or more) unless they have vested interests. I suspect Google has a lot more wireless applications coming, and needs to basically insure a way to get them to the people. Read their spin on the news on the Google blog.
At the end of the day, whoever wins in these auctions, we are looking at the prospect of either the Bells or Google owning the spectrum. And none of them are that appetizing.