Posted December 19, 2007 1:18 pm by with 1 comment

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The contenders are in for the FCC’s 700MHz wireless spectrum auction that will be held next month. One of them is Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen.

The auction begins on Thursday, January 24. The FCC’s web site posted a list of applicants yesterday (see the PDF for the complete list). I learned that the FCC’s site is exactly like what you’d expect from the government. Finding things is not easy, so take advantage of the link.

The FCC had 266 applications but just 96 of them were complete and have been accepted. The applicants who were rejected can resubmit their applications by January 4, 2008.

Some of the expected applicants on the list were Google, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Qualcomm. There are other big names that need to resubmit their applications. The price tag is steep for the coveted licenses – companies must have $4.6 billion reserve for the C block (which Google wants most). For the entire spectrum companies need at least $10 billion in reserves.

The auction will be done in blocks and therefore will not be completed quickly. The spectrum is available as radio stations go digital. The blocks are largely high quality signals that will never
One reason the auction is so important is that it could bring new blood to the cell phone or wireless industry. It may be the only chance for a new company to break into the marketplace. Google pushed the FCC for important concessions that would be good for customers and revolutionize the industry. For most of the spectrum, the winner must make the new wireless access open so it can be accessed from any phone, device, or application.