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Apple may enter 700MHz FCC wireless auction

updated 10:55 am EDT, Mon September 10, 2007

Apple to join FCC auction?

Apple is another contender for the FCC's auction of the 700MHz wireless spectrum, according to two anonymous sources. The company is said to be studying the consequences of bidding on January 16th; if it won, Apple would potentially have access to wireless faster than any current cellular or Wi-Fi technology, with the added benefit of longer range and the ability to pass through buildings and harsh weather. This could be particularly relevant to the company's hardware, since the iPhone would no longer be dependent on carriers such as AT&T, and virtually all other products could tap into a 700MHz network for data. Such services would have to wait until 2009, the scheduled year of death for analog TV, which currently holds the 700MHz range.

Several factors are said to act as a deterrent however, such as the $4.6 billion minimum bid, and the total of $9 billion required to win enough spectrum for a nationwide network. This would then have to be complemented by the building of infrastructure, plus divisions for handling subscribers and maintenance. The costs could harm Apple's margins, and discourage taking risks on the inventive products Apple is known for.

The company also faces stiff competition from potential bidders such as Google, DirecTV and Skype owner eBay. Google has long been considered one of the most serious bidders, partly due to rumors of a Google phone and the company's increasing involvement in the cellphone industry. Following the denial of wholesale resale terms it wanted, however, Google has become less prominent and may choose not to participate at all.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Don't see it

    While it might sound like a good idea to some, the cost itself of the spectrum, plus the cost of the entire infrastructure (towers don't grow on trees, you know) would be severely detrimental to the company's overall health.

  1. cblackmo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    huge consequences

    I think the consequences of this auction will be huge for technology and society. It would be unfortunate if three entities that share a boardroom (Google, Apple and Al Gore) couldn't somehow capitalize on a rare opportunity to gain leverage in the fight for wider public access and representation in the world of broadcast/broadband.

    I think owning this spectrum would perfectly satisy Apple's (or Steve Jobs') appetite for autonomy; but I agree that it could bring about an almost prohibitive weight of responsibility and stewardship.

    Still, I would trust Google and Apple with ownership of that spectrum far more than I would trust Verizon or AT&T or even worse - media titans such as NBC-Universal or Time Warner.

  1. MacZealot36

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Trust Google?

    Google is evil.. When are people going to figure this out?

    I can just see it now I have to look at 4 ads before i can answer my phone or place a call. Whoopie.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: huge consequences

    couldn't somehow capitalize on a rare opportunity to gain leverage in the fight for wider public access and representation in the world of broadcast/broadband.

    Well, I guess that would be true, if you could believe those three would be doing this for wider public access.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: huge consequences

    BTW, one thing on Apple's side is Al Gore. From what I understand, he invented the 700MHz spectrum.

  1. darkelf

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: Al Gore

    that's worth a LOL.

  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Nope

    No Al Gore, Apple ain't green enough remember.

  1. cacruden

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Just do a joint bid!

    They should bid for the spectrum, but they should bid as a joint bid with: Google, DirecTV and Skype.

    Setup a seperate company that is jointly owned, but has a mandate to provide wireless access at a wholesale level to companies (which would include Google, DirectTv and Skype). Maybe they can attract some VC money as well. The goal being to build a reliable wholeseller of wireless access.

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