Jury Out On The Impact Of 700 MHz Spectrum Auction Rules

from the new-spectrum-same-players dept

The talk around the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum license auctions continues. After Google's CEO earlier this week said the company would "probably" bid in the auction, even though the FCC didn't implement the open-access provisions Google wanted, a couple of divergent opinions on the auction's impact on the telecom landscape have come out. On the one hand, former FCC bigwig Blair Levin says the auction isn't likely to result in a new nationwide mobile operator; on the other, a "source at a major cellular company" says the auction isn't attractive for incumbent operators. Who to believe? As usual, the truth in somewhere in the middle, but we're more inclined to take Levin's view of things. Incumbent operators will likely shy away from the 22 MHz of spectrum with open-access rules -- not just because they don't want to operate under the restrictions, but also because if the auction for those licenses fails to generate $4.6 billion, the open-access rules will be lifted, and the auction will start over. Once it hits $4.6 billion on that first go-around, though, operators will bid because there's simply too much spectrum on offer to ignore it. Their choice of technology could render the open-access rules useless, really -- after all, if they pick a proprietary or unpopular technology for their network, they'll be the only people selling compatible devices for it. When you get down to brass tacks, the incumbent operators are going to spend whatever's necessary to acquire the spectrum, despite what anonymous sources within them say. Spectrum in general is their lifeblood, and this 700 MHz spectrum in particular has too many positive attributes for mobile broadband for them to pass up. They'll bid aggressively to defend their turf, and if anybody is going to unseat them, it's going to take a hell of a lot of investment.


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  1.  
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    TacoJimBo, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 6:31pm

    700mhz spectrum

    Personally, I'd like to see the 700mhz spectrum go to google and the rumored Gphone. This plan would make the most sense. Especially if they had gotten the open access rules past. Google could sell bandwidth/space/whatever and profit handsomely while giving us the rumored Gphone subsidised or even free. I'd even be open to looking at "some" adds on my free/subsidised Gphone instead of paying through the teeth for a horrible Iphone and Service through Cingl-ATT. I'd even consider paying full price for a Gphone that would be ad free. All consumers really want is some choice. I think this would be the best option. My 2centz0rs

     

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  2.  
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    Bin InComa, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 7:08pm

    Who or what is Google?

     

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  3.  
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    Lord, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 9:47pm

    I wonder

    if this couldn't be more profitable for Google by selling access to third parties. A large number of such parties paying for access could add up to more than its value to an incumbent.

     

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  4.  
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    Ajax 4Hire, Aug 25th, 2007 @ 7:34am

    700MHz dipole antenna = 2cm(1inch)

    Very portable equipment with small antenna.
    700MHz is high enough frequency/small enough wavelength to slide thru must building material walls (except steel).

    But with that high frequency comes very little bend.
    Transmitter will not be able to reach very far beyond the horizon so mostly 'near' line of sight. Not much use for rural since Person/Tower is so low, not enough profit.

    Always the case, urban, near urban and some suburban areas could benefit.

    Finally, it is the bandwidth of the 700MHz signal that will define the bits/second due to most modulation techniques used today.

     

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  5.  
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    Bryan Young, Aug 25th, 2007 @ 8:13am

    Build out requirements

    I would be more concerned with the build out requirements. Can Google really afford to build out enough infrastructure to meet the coverage requirements? 4.6 Billion dollars is nothing compared to the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure. Verizon and AT&T spend at least 6 Billion PER YEAR on infrastructure.

    Google just wants to lobby and make sure that their web services are accessible to consumers.

     

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  6.  
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    Chiefbutz, Aug 25th, 2007 @ 4:53pm

    Re: 700mhz spectrum

    I agree, I really want Google to get it. I would rather pay Google or have some ads on my cell phone than pay AT&T or Verizon or someone. I hope Google can pull off getting it. They could do SO much with it!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2007 @ 12:47am

    There is some interest in moving all public safety users to 700Mhz and leave the abandoned 800Mhz slots they occupied for expansion there. This would occur as the useful lives of the present equipment are reached. This would largely resolve all the interference issues stemming from the FCC interleaving lower-power land mobile with the likes of Nextel, which may recur on 700 again the way the government remembers its mistakes.

     

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