updated 04:05 pm EST, Wed January 9, 2008
Frontline Exits 700MHz Bid
One of Google's major competitors in the upcoming 700MHz FCC auction has closed its doors just weeks ahead of the bidding itself, says RCR. Startup Frontline Wireless has issued a brief statement that indicated it was "closed for business" but has not explained its reason for the shutdown; the closure is believed to stem from an inability to land the $4.6 billion minimum for a bid in the auction, which is making available wireless space from analog TV that is likely to be used for long-range cellphone and Internet access.
Until today, Frontline has been seen as one of the top contenders for a portion of the 700MHz band through both its founders and its mission. The company was founded by former FCC chief Reed Hundt as well as ex-Netscape executives and set out a goal of creating an open 4G (fourth-generation) wireless network that would allow customers to use any device and run any software. Some US carriers until recently have frequently insisted on running only internally approved versions of handsets and have at times blocked programs from phones that would compete directly with the carrier, such as VoIP calling software.
Google is believed to be seeking the same objectives and has reportedly been testing its own 700MHz network at its Mountain View, California campus as a trial run for a larger service that would take advantage of its Android mobile operating system. Incumbents such as AT&T and Verizon have also applied for the bidding process but are not yet known to have been accepted