Unused Verizon spectrum to go to rural, small operators
Verizon has signed a sale agreement with Panhandle Telecommunication Systems that will see the nation's largest wireless carrier selling off part of its unused wireless spectrum. The agreement, along with an earlier agreement with Nortex Communications, is part of an ongoing process in which Verizon will sell portions of the 700MHz spectrum following its clearance to buy spectrum from the cable companies. The Panhandle deal covers the Texas RSA 2-Hansford 700MHz lower B-block license, which spans 12 counties in the northwest part of Texas.
Senate OKs TV delay bill
Just days after Congress rejected a bill that would delay the switch to digital over-the-air TV from analog, the US Senate on Thursday has passed a slightly revised bill to delay the transition. Like the original bill, the new one aims to move the switchover date into June, as there is concern from President Obama and his supporters that some 20 million poor, elderly citizens as well as those in rural households are not technically ready for the changeover.
Congress Downs DTV Delay
The US House of Representatives at mid-day has voted against a bill that would delay the switch from analog to digital for over-the-air TV until June 12th. The bill had cleared the Senate on Monday but lost 258-168 after some congressional Democrats joined Republicans in resisting the delay. Without an emergency bill, the new vote keeps the originally scheduled February 17th date.
Genachowski for FCC
The replacement for current FCC chairman Kevin Martin may be one of the most public advocates of net neutrality, according to separate tips sent to the Wall Street Journal as well as the Washington Post. Those near President-elect Obama's transition team and lawmakers in the US capital reportedly say Obama has chosen venture capitalist, former FCC worker and presidential campaign adviser Julius Genachowski to serve as chairman for the government regulator.
Cox Cell Service in 2009
Cox Communications on Monday said it would launch its own cellular service in 2009 that would make it one of the first new national providers in the US in years. The format of the expansion hasn't been made public but will see Cox offer both voice and data service on its network that includes tight integration between phones and the company's cable service.
Google Verizon Search Deal
Google and Verizon are forgoing earlier differences and are closing in on a deal that could significantly alter mobile searching, a report from the Wall Street Journal today would suggest. Anonymous sources tell the business paper that Google would become the standard search provider on all of Verizon's handhelds and should ultimately have a search bar on the home screen of all Internet-capable devices.
Verizon buys SureWest
on Friday announced the purchase of SureWest Communications, which includes the latter's wireless spectrum licenses, network, and operational assets in the greater Sacramento area. The licenses cover a population of 3.8 million people, and currently overlap Verizon's existing network coverage. Verizon will transfer approximately 50,000 SureWest Wireless customers, after the former finishes converting the latter's accounting system into its own.
Verizon follows rules
Verizon on Thursday responded to Google's filing, allegedly spinning the situation that Google – not Verizon – is trying to "change the rules" of the now-closed auction. The response comes to a filing with the FCC, where Google claims Verizon is not going to live up to the terms of a truly open network. It fears that, if left unchecked, open devices such as Google's Android platform would be deadlocked with Verizon, despite the open nature of the portion of the 700MHz spectrum Verizon won.
Google Accuses Verizon
Google has filed an FCC petition asking that the FCC drop Verizon's $4.7 billion winning bid in the recent 700MHz wireless auction. Filed late last week, the motion accuses Verizon of planning to use its Any App, Any Device plan to shelter customers buying its own devices from having to follow FCC open access guidelines set out before the auction, which would require that any 700MHz service on the relevant spectrum support any legal device or software regardless of which company has sold either component. Verizon's plan forces users of truly open devices to follow a different set of rules while those who buy from Verizon itself are trapped, Google claims.
700MHz auction 'gamed?'
Google deliberately manipulated the outcome of the FCC's recent 700MHz auction, three US Representatives have alleged. Republicans Cliff Stearns and John Shimkus, along with Democrat Eliot Engel, said at a hearing today that Google unfairly managed to obtain an open wireless network without having to win it, by promising to bid at least $4.6 billion on the 22MHz block if the winner was forced to allow open (third-party) access. Evidence of this is claimed to be bolstered by a recent Google blog post, in which officials admit that open access was a key priority during bidding.
UK 4G Wireless Auction
Britain's telecoms regulator Ofcom on Friday confirmed that it would hold a new auction for wireless space in the country. Partly echoing the just-completed FCC auction in the US, the UK agency will allow portions of spectrum in the 2GHz and 2.6GHz spaces to be used for different wireless services. This is likely to involve fourth-generation data services such as "evolutions of 3G technology" or WiMAX, Ofcom says.
Verizon 700MHz 4G Access
Verizon will use its recent 700MHz wins to setup a nationwide 4G cellular network, the company declared tonight. A lift of the FCC's ban on discussing the 700MHz auction results reveals that the telecoms firm will introduce a Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network on its share of the frequency, providing much faster Internet access than the carrier's existing 3G, EVDO Revision A-based network.
AT&T using LTE 4G
AT&T today held a conference call regarding its acquisitions in the 700MHz spectrum, and confirmed that it will use the Long Term Evolution system for its upcoming 4G telecommunications infrastructure. Representatives during the call told MacNN its B-block acquisitions of the 700MHz spectrum would allow it to cover 87 percent of the US populace with its 4G architecture, and would give it finer control over its network and applications. Since it is a closed system, it allows AT&T to enable or restrict certain devices.
700MHz auction extortion?
The FCC has agreed to look into accusations of extortion following its 700MHz wireless auction, reports say. While major blocks of the sought-after spectrum were quickly snapped up by companies such as AT&T and Verizon, the D block was largely abandoned, receiving a single $472 million bid by Qualcomm -- well short of the FCC's asking reserve price, $1.3 billion. The investigation will be headed by the FCC's inspector general, Kent Nilsson.
ATT 700MHz Costs
AT&T's gains for wireless space in the FCC 700MHz auction will cost it enough to require a major downpayment, according to a filing by the cellular carrier. The company explains that its new space will demand a $1.3 billion down payment within the next ten days and that it will need to take on a debt load of $5.3 billion to pay for the remaining amount. The figures make up a significant portion of the overall auction, which resulted in a reportedly record-setting $18.9 billion in net bids spread across a mix of large telecoms companies as well as regional businesses.
Verizon 700MHz Wins
Verizon was the winner of the nationwide license for the crucial 700MHz wireless auction as well as most regional licenses, the FCC has revealed. An initial list of winners shows the telecoms giant to have successfully won both the national license as well as 11 out of 12 of the local licenses available for the "C" block that is likely to be used for wireless data. The licenses supply the company with coverage across all of the US and would allow it to launch any future service with few gaps in its network. Only AT&T Mobility has managed to win a major regional "C" block bid for coverage in the Mississippi Valley, according to government documents.
700MHz bid ends
The 700MHz FCC-led wireless auction today ended with an estimated revenue of $20 billion, says Molly Peterson of Bloomberg.com. While the FCC hasn't disclosed the actual winner of the auction, this brings a close to a nearly two month long bidding war between 214 companies, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Google. Analysts for the FCC expected the auction to raise between $10- to $15 billion.
Canada Wireless Bidders
The Canadian government today introduced a list of bidders in the upcoming wireless auction that is expected to determine the future of the country's cellular industry. The auction is now known to include several newcomers under different operating names, such as Videotron owner Quebecor Media, Manitoba's MTS, and western telecoms firm Shaw. However, large existing carriers such as Bell Canada, Rogers, and Telus are also joining the auction.
Ericsson 700MHz Gear
Swedish electronics giant Ericsson today revealed that it will already be set with technology that will support new 700MHz Internet access when it becomes an option in the US and elsewhere by 2009. The company says it is already developing chipsets that will natively use the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for extremely quick 4G Internet access; the new technology should allow download speeds up to 326Mbps on the carrier's end (20Mbps for each user) while still providing the advantages that come with the 700MHz airwaves, such as longer range and better signals when indoors.
T-Mobile to enter Canada
The ongoing auction for the Canadian 700MHz spectrum may have T-Mobile as a new bidder, representing the German company's first potential interest in a market outside of Europe and the United States. According to MobileInCanada.com, an internal note went around CIBC indicating that it would be a good maneuver for the telecom company, since T-Mobile is reluctant to acquire third-party companies to commence its service.
Google Balloon Wireless
Google is investigating the possibility of using balloons to support future wireless networks, say sources in touch with the Wall Street Journal. The search engine firm is reportedly investigating either a partnership or an acquisition of balloon wireless firm Space Data to use its technology for extending a long-range cellular or wide-area Internet network. While specific implementations are not discussed, the current system floats balloons with transceivers into the upper atmosphere to increase their range; Space Data (and therefore Google) could spread a signal across thousands of square miles, extending coverage without having to install up to 40 cellular towers or repeaters.
WiMAX on 700MHz spectrum?
WiMAX mobile broadband may have even greater reach than expected, an announcement by the standard's organizers indicates. While devices are currently being certified only for the 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5GHz wireless frequencies, the WiMAX Forum says it will be eventually begin testing products on the 700MHz band, formerly the home of over-the-air analog TV, now the subject of an FCC auction. The 700MHz spectrum as a whole offers great advantages to any wireless technology, since it not only penetrates through walls, it has a greater reach that makes networks more cost-effective.
Best Buy digital converter
Big-box retailer Best Buy will soon join a special discount plan, meant to help push Americans over from analog TV to digital. Beginning February 17th, the company will start selling selling an Insignia-branded digital-to-analog converter box, eligible for a coupon program initiated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). This will cut the price of the converter by $40, making it a more reasonable $20.
700MHz Likely for Verizon
Second-largest cellular provider Verizon is most likely to have secured the desirable "C" block wireless space in the FCC's 700MHz auction, according to reports from those tracking the industry. Although key player Google is likely to have bid at least $4.6 billion to trigger requirements for open access to any device or software that might run on a future 700MHz wireless network, the Android developer is unlikely to have continued bidding past that point, instead letting its closest rival Verizon produce a higher bid for the "C" block's national access. This would let Google achieve its objective of an open platform for wireless devices without having to actually commit the money necessary for a winning bid, experts say. Google is now believed to instead be mulling an alliance with Yahoo to help fend off Microsoft's hostile takeover bid for Yahoo.
ATT Aloha Deal Approved
The Federal Communications Commission today approved AT&T's plan to buy 700MHz spectrum from Aloha, finalizing a deal first set in motion in October. The $2.5 billion deal was given to the American carrier despite reservations by FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, both of whom raised concerns that AT&T's exclusive access to this portion of the 700MHz band would potentially hurt competition and work against the public's interest in maintaining an accessible network.
700MHz Open Access Bid
Bidders in the auction for the 700MHz wireless space have reached the minimum bid necessary to require that a winner institutes open access on any wireless network they create, the US Federal Communications Commission has confirmed through its auction site. At least one bidder in the auction has pressed past the crucial $4.6 billion mark for the "C block" spectrum, with bids at the end of the 17th round of the auction just surpassing $4.7 billion. No end dates or bidding limits have been established for the auction, which is set to continue until bidding stops.
700MHz Bids Near Key Mark
Individual bids in the 700MHz FCC auction are nearing the amount needed to claim the key airwaves needed for mobile data, according to the communications body's's latest auction results. With almost $7.4 billion of total bids across the entire spectrum as of the end of the 10th round of auctions, the largest bid so far for the key nationwide "C block" license is now approaching $3.4 billion after less than a week of bidding, ensuring that at least one bidder is likely to meet the $4.6 billion mark needed to ensure open access for any device and software on a potential future wireless network. Bids for the just-begun 11th round will have to reach at least the $3.9 billion mark, the FCC says.
700MHz Auction Begins
The Federal Communications Commission today began the highly anticipated auction for the 700MHz wireless spectrum. Divided into several blocks of airspace, the contest is widely believed to be responsible for future wide-area Internet airspace both across the US as a whole as well as for regional carriers. The rules of the auction prevent the FCC from detailing most of the process, though the regulatory body currently notes that bids so far have totaled $2.4 billion. This reveals that many of the larger players in the auction have yet to bid as the most coveted blocks of wireless space require a minimum $4.6 billion bid.
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.
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.
50 Pc. of US Owns Digi TVs
Just over half of all American households have at least one digital TV in their home, says the Consumer Electronics Association. The group, which hosts the CES expo each January, notes that at least 50 percent have one or more sets that can accept a digital signal without a set-top box or other adapter. An increasing number of these are HDTV sets and should account for 79 percent of all TVs sold in the country over the course of 2008. the Association says. TV makers themselves are expected to sell as many as 18 percent more sets over the same timeframe than they have in 2007.
Paul Allen 700MHz Bid
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is one of those already confirmed as bidding in the upcoming FCC auction for the 700MHz wireless band, according to the list of accepted applicants (PDF). The former executive is using a proxy firm known as Vulcan Spectrum in an attempt to capture a slice of the soon to be free wireless spectrum, which has been eagerly sought after by telecom providers for its potential with long-range Internet and similar data. Neither Allen nor Vulcan has revealed the reasons behind the bid, though Allen is also a significant stakeholder in cable provider Charter.
Asia in 700MHz auction
Four Asian companies appear to be getting involved with the FCC auction for the 700MHz wireless spectrum, the Wall Street Journal reports. The biggest is Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo, which may put forward a bid worth $5 billion or more to expand its business internationally. The company already has a minor presence in the US, but does not sell any of the phones or advanced cellular services it is famous for in Japan. The company's main rival -- KDDI -- is likewise rumored to be interested in greater US access, since it is already testing a cellular service in the northeast.
700MHz Bidder Slip
Some additional bidders in the FCC's auction for the 700MHz band have been revealed, according to filings and public revelations. In addition to confirmed bids by cable provider Cox and open access advocate Google, Leap Wireless (which owns the cellular provider Cricket) has submitted an SEC filing indicating that it use a subsidiary to participate in the auction. A partly-connected firm known as Denali Spectrum License will also join in, Leap notes.
Cox 700MHz Wireless
In a partly unexpected move Cox Communications today revealed that it intends to bid in the FCC's upcoming auction for the 700MHz band, becoming the first company outside of Google confirmed as making an attempt at the valuable wireless frequency. The announcement will have the company place at least $4.6 billion for a portion of the network and is geared towards improving the "convergence and mobility" of Cox's services, according to the company. The phrasing points to Cox establishing a wireless network of its own, though whether this will include calling or just data is uncertain. Cox is best known for its cable Internet and TV services and may be seeking to offer a third business.Cox
Qualcomm 700MHz 3G
In an aggressive step, Qualcomm on Monday announced the RTR6570, the first new cellular chipset designed with upcoming 700MHz wireless networks in mind. The transceiver explicitly supports the longer ranges and higher speeds made possible through the new frequency, even if they use competing standards: a device using the chipset could connect both to a CDMA network (such as Sprint or Verizon) as well as an HSPA or UMTS (AT&T and potentially T-Mobile) networks adapted to the newly opened airwaves.
Google 700MHz Bid Official
Google today confirmed its bid for the FCC's 700MHz spectrum auction, validating a late leak in the press of the company's intentions. The maneuver will give Google an opportunity to use and license the airwaves for services such as cellular calling or Internet access, both of which are likely to occur given the company's purported secret testing of its own mobile services at its Mountain View, California headquarters. It was important for Google officials to live up to their espoused values of open and fair competition and "put our money where our principles are," according to the company's chief executive, Eric Schmidt.
Google 700MHz Bid Likely
Google is prepared to announce today that it will bid in the FCC's upcoming auction for the 700MHz spectrum to establish a new wireless network, the Wall Street Journal claims. The search engine developer has hinted that it has been willing to bid Since July but until now has refrained from making any kind of definite commitment to a bid, which would cost the company at least $4.6 billion. The company has nonetheless been under some pressure to take action after successfully negotiating open access rules that would force any winner of the bid to allow any device and any program to run on a network it might establish with the new frequency space.
Canada Wireless Auction
An upcoming wireless frequency auction in Canada will mirror the 700MHz auction in the US in its attempt to foster genuine competition, says the country's Industry Minister, Jim Prentice. Under a new set of rules, the government will deliberately set aside 40 percent of the available spectrum for companies new to the field in an attempt to prevent incumbents such as Bell or Rogers from shutting out competitors. The amount of airwave space up for grabs will be enough to start a national wireless carrier and offer a fourth alternative that could drive down the high cellular calling and Internet access prices that are hurting customers, Prentice says.