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FCC Makes Decision on 700 MHz Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission voted to shake up the wireless market by approving a set of rules for the upcoming auction that would require the winner to make them accessible to any phone, other device or application. Regulators decided today that the winner of the valuable wireless airwaves the U.S. government plans to sell (by early next year) would have to permit consumers to connect using any device or software. more

Other Plans: WiMAX, Google, Sprint and Clearwire

Someone asked me a question today about Google's new partnership with Sprint. Sprint/Nextel is the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., falling far behind Verizon and AT&T -- who together control 51% of the wireless market. (Sprint services are also resold by Comcast and Time Warner as part of their packages.) Sprint has announced it won't bid in the 700 MHz auction. Sprint has other plans... more

Vint Cerf Explains Google's Biggest Challenge in Telecommunications Space

In his recent visit to Google's Seattle office, Vint Cerf discussed various topics with reporters including Google's recent bid on the wireless airwaves. Below are a couple of questions asked during this session by Seattle Times' reporter, Brier Dudley: What's going to be Google's biggest challenge if it moves into the telecommunications space... more

Google's Good Bandwidth Gambit

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has made the FCC an offer it shouldn't refuse. At this point it's unlikely that the FCC will accept but it would be good for the United States if it did -- and good for Google, of course. Two problems with the Google offer: at&t and Verizon hate it and it probably would result in the 700MHz auction bringing in somewhat less money (immediately) for the treasury than an alternative which would encourage the telcos to bid. more

Google Will Bid At Least $4.6 Billion on Wireless Airwaves

Google has announced today that it will bid at least $4.6 billion on the wireless airwaves that are to be auctioned off by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However Google will only commit to its bid if the following conditions are met... Om Malik of GigaOM says that behind all the 'openness' of Google's proposal, there are likely hefty vested interests in play... more

Carriers Constrain Entrepreneurs

Previously, I've written about how the success of the MVNO (though not without its problems) demonstrates how an Open Access-like business model can work in a wireless context. The underlying carrier, such as Sprint or Verizon, can sell access to its network at wholesale rates to a company like Virgin Mobile, which then markets to consumers. This model can be and is a success both for the retailer and the wholesaler. MVNOs are not perfect. more

WSJ on Wireless Network Neutrality

Today's Wall Street Journal had an interesting article (subscription required) on the current state of the wireless walled garden. It cites several recent clashes between handset vendors and cellcos over the extent to which consumers can use their phones to access non cellco content. From the article: "At stake for consumers are what services will be available on their mobile phones and whether they're free or cost a monthly fee. The wireless Web is taking off more slowly in America than overseas, and one reason is that U.S. carriers tightly control what applications are available on mobile devices..." more

Google Lobbying for Open Wi-Fi Spectrum

CNet News is reporting that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will be in the process of deciding whether to impose the so-called "open access" rules on winners of the upcoming auction of a generous chunk of the 700MHz broadcast TV band. Wireless companies are eager to bid on the auction as the 700MHz broadcast signals can travel farther and easily penetrate walls resulting in widespread, wireless broadband networks. more