by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 9th 2008 2:34pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 19th 2007 8:41am
from the my-ISP-is-Chevron? dept
In a list of 266 companies, there are always going to be some long shots -- but it still doesn't hurt to point out some of the more interesting bidders. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen plans to bid via his Vulcan Spectrum LLC (reusing his favorite "Vulcan" name for companies). It's unclear what he would do with the spectrum. Perhaps even more surprising is the news that oil giant Chevron is planning to participate. What the company would do with the spectrum should it win (and it certainly has the money to win) is an open question, but there are a few intriguing ideas. As for Google, don't hold your breath for a win here. It has seemed pretty clear from the beginning that the company is only in the auction to bid $4.6 billion -- the lowest point necessary to force open access rules to kick in. It would be a huge surprise if the company bid much more than that, and it would be an even bigger surprise if no one outbid Google.
Thu, Dec 6th 2007 4:11pm
from the competitive-pressures-at-work dept
Verizon Wireless is preparing to compete in an industry that will resemble more of a free-for-all where innovation and customer value are the rule of the day. Verizon can no longer afford to maintain strict boundaries between the devices and applications “inside” and “outside” their networks. By embracing openness on several different fronts the company is seeking to offload a large chunk of the costs associated with developing devices to a wider ecosystem of participants. Inclusive device policies will retain the same effect that outsourcing the development and support costs for new phones would. It is no longer tenable to develop devices and support customer issues for every single customer on its network, so the company is looking to basically exchange network access for ownership of support issues, with a larger group of handset and application providers.
Particularly, the Android move is to ensure that an assortment of niche devices powered by Google’s platform will have a home on the Verizon Wireless network. The company should begin to feature an increasing number of programs and incentives for an increasing number of handset makers and wireless application developers. Meanwhile Verizon will begin to slash the high costs associated with developing phones with the Samsung and LG types. As a result, the number of phone models actually supported by the company (currently at around 50) is set to drop significantly by 2012 even as the total number of models running on the network will escalate.
As the most profitable U.S. cellular business, Verizon Wireless also has the most impetus to begin the process of expanding a revenue base limited to subscribers who are content to choose from 50 or so the company’s handsets. Spurred by a shrinking number of first time customers it is fast becoming critical to find ways to attract subscribers from rival carriers and open access policies are a good start towards that end. Along the same lines, the aforementioned Vodafone LTE announcement is key to the company’s strategic play for subscribers who, in the past, shunned Verizon Wireless for carriers that enable easier roaming. The goal is to extend the availability of “America’s most reliable network” to both sides of the Atlantic to boost the value proposition of becoming a Verizon wireless customer.
Verizon’s open evolution is a response to the limited growth opportunities faced by US mobile carriers in the face of market saturation (250 million across the country already have cell phones). Over the next 2-3 years what is now a rumbling from consumers will expand into smoldering demand for choices on wireless networks that reflect the nature of those provided on landlines. In effect the company realizes that it must adapt to an open-centric marketplace to compete and survive over the long haul, not just in the upcoming 700 MHz auctions. In doing so, Verizon has begun the transformation from staunch gatekeeper of a closed network into the heart of a more open wireless ecosystem.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 10th 2007 11:07am
from the gotta-start-somewhere dept
Instead, it seems likely that this is just the beginning of AT&T lining up to get its hands on the auctioned spectrum to combine with this batch. There's been plenty of speculation about who might be the top bidder for the spectrum, with random startups, Google and Apple being tossed around as possible names along with the big telcos. Verizon's been making plenty of noise (apparently both publicly and behind the scenes), but AT&T has always been up there as well. Now, that additional spectrum becomes even more valuable to AT&T, so it might be time to push up how much AT&T is likely to bid on the auctioned spectrum. And, in the worst case, if AT&T doesn't win the auction, it can use this new spectrum it bought to try to barter a sharing arrangement -- or, alternatively, as Glenn Fleishman posits, be able to keep a locked up network going, while whoever buys the auctioned spectrum will have to be more open. If true, that seems likely to backfire. It could give AT&T an initial leg up, but those walled gardens tend to have long-term problems when competing against open systems.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 3rd 2007 5:55pm
from the a-little-over-the-top dept
"Why would the FCC consider allowing millions and millions of these interference causing devices, like 'germs,' to spread throughout America with the ability to attack the TV receivers in people's homes, apartments, hotel rooms, hospital rooms, dormitories, etc., with no way for the owner of the TV set (the 'victim') to determine who was causing the 'illness' to his or her TV set?"They also suggest that allowing this white space to be used would "risk the outrage of America's citizenry." Of course, it's important to remember that only a small percentage of TV watchers actually run this risk. The vast majority of TV owners in the US have cable or satellite TV -- meaning that they don't use the over-the-air broadcasts that use the spectrum in question. So, the "outrage" would be limited to the small group of people who still use over-the-air systems to watch broadcast TV and are close enough to a device that uses this white space in the unlikely situation when that device might temporarily interfere with their TV signals. But, apparently, with that tiny probability out there, opening up that white space is like a "germ" that will "attack" people's TVs, raising the "outrage of America's citizenry."
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 2nd 2007 4:59pm
from the worthless-spectrum...-oh-you-want-it? dept
Fri, Sep 14th 2007 1:49am
from the damn-competition dept
When it looked like the open-access rules wouldn't have any effect, and that the auction for the licenses with them wouldn't attract enough buyers to hit that $4.6 billion reserve price, Verizon went the politically and PR-expedient route and voiced its support for them. Now that it looks like Google's going to be ready to pounce on the spectrum and pay the reserve price, Verizon contends the rules are illegal. Without the involvement of Google or another deep-pocketed bidder, Verizon could wait for the auction to restart without the rules, then pick up the spectrum free from the open-access rules. Since it looks like Google will bid up to the reserve price, Verizon faces the prospect of getting caught in a bidding war with the company, and should it win, it would have to operate any network in the spectrum with the open-access rules -- which it clearly doesn't want to do.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 4th 2007 7:47pm
from the FCC-prefers-its-money-upfront dept
However, the M2Z proposal seemed pretty questionable in its own way, promising nothing up front, and then making plenty of promises on the backend. The company claimed it would cover 95% of the country in broadband in 10 years, would have a "free" tier that was relatively slow and filtered, a more expensive upper tier, as well as offering priority for public safety uses. It may have been intriguing simply for the fact that it was different, but the FCC wasn't convinced. As has been expected for quite some time, the FCC has rejected the proposal, though some believe that the debate over this topic may eventually lead to good things from the FCC with the spectrum it's going to release in the near future. Of course, in the end all this really highlights is that the FCC still is focused on dribbling out bits and pieces of spectrum using different rules and regulations each time -- rather than coming up with a truly comprehensive spectrum allocation plan. Of course, some of us have been pointing this out for years, and the FCC never seems to get any closer to a comprehensive spectrum allocation policy -- and the country continues to suffer for it.
Fri, Aug 24th 2007 6:01pm
from the new-spectrum-same-players dept
Thu, Aug 23rd 2007 2:06am