updated 10:20 am EST, Fri November 16, 2007
Google Network Likely
Google is virtually committed to bidding in the upcoming 700MHz FCC auction and may well launch its own national wireless network if it lands the winning bid, the Wall Street Journal claims today. The Californian search engine firm is said to feel compelled to bid after successfully negotiating open access rules for the auction. It is also testing an "advanced" mobile broadband network at its Mountain View headquarters that lets prototype phones equipped with the company's own Android operating system use the 700MHz frequency, say the paper's claimed sources. The FCC has reportedly approved the tests to help Google get an early start on the technology.
The company has enough money on hand for the initial $4.6 billion needed to make a bid, but is dedicated enough to gaining access to the wireless band that it can pay more by itself and may even take a loan to ensure it can beat competitors, the paper adds.
Google's determination is often believed to be the result of its desire to prevent existing phone carriers such as Verizon from winning the auction and ensure that both its software and others can run freely on any eventual network, regardless of whether or not Google enters the wireless provider business. These companies have complained about the rules for bidding and argue that they should be allowed to use their existing models, which lock customers into carrier-specific devices and frequently block software that does not generate direct revenue for themselves.
Executives from Google have previously explained that the firm will likely license 700MHz technology to other providers at wholesale rates if it wins the auction, in part to encourage competition and greater distribution of its code and ad revenue.