One of the more significant auctions for wireless spectrum in recent memory has reached an important milestone: the price for one of the nationwide licenses has risen to the point where the winner will have to open its network to any mobile device running any software.
The Federal Communications Commission auction for a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum is drawing so much attention because it potentially will allow a company to build a nationwide nework… if it is willing to spend enough money.
Earlier today, some company bid over $4.6 billion for one of the licenses, which means that it won’t be allowed to offer a closed network for only devices it approves. This was one of the rules the FCC specified when it set the terms for this auction.
And the Winner Is…
Because of the way the FCC is conducting this auction, it’s not know who, at $4.7 billion, is the current top bidder.
The best known participant is Google, which has made noise about the need for a nationwide open network.
Other well-known companies participating in this auction are AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Alltel, Cox, and Frontier Wireless, a company owned by satellite TV giant Dish Network.
And the winner could change, as the auction is still going on.
More About the 700 MHz Auction
The 700 MHz spectrum that’s up for auction is currently being used by analog TV channels. All these have to go digital by February 19, 2009 though, freeing up this portion of the spectrum.
Anyone who has used an analogue TV should be aware that radio waves in this frequency range travel well over long distances and offer good penetration into buildings.