updated 12:15 pm EST, Tue January 15, 2008
FCC 700MHz Bid Confirmed
The Federal Communications Commission today finalized its bidder list (PDF) for the expected 700MHz wireless auction and brings with it new surprises, according to the published document. The news confirms Google's expected bid but also confirms that several established wireless carriers have made the cut, including Alltel, AT&T, and MetroPCS. Verizon Wireless is also bidding in the auction under the CellCo Partnership brand.
Other unusual entrants have also made the cut, the document notes. Cable provider Cox Communications is also set to enter the race while cellphone chipset maker Qualcomm and oil company Chevron have also been confirmed as making bids. Numerous regional companies are also making bids but are expected to apply for local frequencies rather than national licenses.
The FCC's update establishes fierce competition for the 700MHz airspace, which is being retired from use with analog over-the-air TV in February 2009 and is expected to be used on a national level for cellular calls and potentially wide-area wireless services. Google is believed to be testing phones based on its Linux-based Android mobile OS on a special 700MHz network at its campus but has not announced intentions to start a wireless carrier of its own. Instead, the search engine giant is most likely to license the frequency to other companies.
Incumbent cellphone carriers have not indicated any plans of their own but are believed to want the 700MHz band for newer, faster Internet services of their own to complement existing 3G networks.