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Google likely to bid for 700MHz

Posted: 27 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless communications? 700MHz wireless spectrum? search engine?

Comments made by Eric Schmidt, Google chairman, raised speculations that the search company is likely to participate in the upcoming auction for the 700MHz wireless spectrum.

Google and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had been haggling over terms for the auction, and the commission last month adopted only two of four requirements set by Schmidt for Google to bid in the January auction.

Asked by a T-Mobile executive at a conference in Aspen, Colorado whether Google planned to participate in the auction, Schmidt said, "probably," according to published reports. He was a featured speaker at a meeting of regulators and telecom executives sponsored by the Progress and Freedom Foundation think tank.

The company has been inching toward becoming an active player in consumer wireless communications as its earlier hopes of piggybacking on nationwide Wi-Fi networks have sputtered trying to get off the ground.

When the FCC set rules for the upcoming 700MHz auction, it favored two of the four requirements Google had sought, without directly addressing any of them. But Google was pleased that the agency adopted a measure that would open up a large portion of the 700MHz spectrum to provide service to devices from many firms, unlike cellular phone service providers that limit the types of devices that can be used on their networks.

Google has said it is prepared to spend up to $4.6 billion in the auction. The search engine company has complained that incumbent telecommunications firmsa veiled reference to Verizon Communications and AT&Thave an advantage in the auction. However, in the wake of Schmidt's Aspen comments, Google may bid anyway.

- W. David Gardner

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