stories about: "frontline"
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 9th 2008 2:34pm
There was tremendous hype and a number of big names behind the wireless startup Frontline, who was talked up as a possible upstart bidder (and potential winner) for a segment of the spectrum that the FCC is auctioning off later this month. However, if one thing has become clear over the years, spectrum auctions are not a game for startups to play -- as unfortunate as that may be. On Tuesday, the news came out that Frontline had shut down after it was unable to find financial backers to pony up all the money it needed. There are some questions about this, as some of the company's early supporters represent a ton of money, but some are noting that this could actually cause something of a domino effect impacting all of the spectrum being auctioned off. There are a variety of rules and hurdles that various bidders need to meet, and if those hurdles aren't cleared, then the FCC can cancel the auction and try again -- with different rules that could toss out the open access requirements the FCC put in place. It's not clear if that will actually happen, but it appears to increase the likelihood significantly.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 1st 2007 8:21pm
from the ah,-the-one-up-manship dept
For something as boring as a spectrum auction, the upcoming 700MHz auction sure has its fair share of excitement. There are the rumors of Google and even Apple potentially bidding on the spectrum. Google requested that the FCC attach some specific conditions to the auction, which the FCC gave some lip service to, but hardly a full endorsement. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless initially liked the conditions set by the FCC (meaning it thought it had a good chance of getting the spectrum) until it began to think through the scenarios (or heard more credible stories about competitive bids) and then suddenly decided to sue the FCC, claiming that the rules being set are illegal. Of course, others can play the lawsuit game too. Frontline Wireless, a new company basically built to bid on this spectrum, is now accusing Verizon Wireless of breaking the law in not disclosing the details of a recent meeting between Verizon Wireless officials and the FCC about the auction -- as required by the law. Thus, Frontline is asking the FCC to sanction Verizon Wireless, including the extremely unlikely possibility of barring it from the 700MHz auction. Of course, just imagine the resulting lawsuits should the FCC actually agree and bar Verizon Wireless. Somehow, given Kevin Martin's chummy relationship with the telcos, it seems unlikely that Verizon Wireless will be stopped from bidding.
Fri, Aug 24th 2007 6:01pm
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.