updated 04:20 pm EST, Wed December 5, 2007
700MHz Bidder Slip
Some additional bidders in the FCC's auction for the 700MHz band have been revealed, according to filings and public revelations. In addition to confirmed bids by cable provider Cox and open access advocate Google, Leap Wireless (which owns the cellular provider Cricket) has submitted an SEC filing indicating that it use a subsidiary to participate in the auction. A partly-connected firm known as Denali Spectrum License will also join in, Leap notes.
Verizon is also reportedly set on making a bid, though the company has not released any official documents to support the claim. However, a move would remain in line with the company's sudden reversal on locking down devices and software, which includes both opening its service and joining the Open Handset Alliance to support Google's open-source Android mobile software.
AT&T has seriously considered a bid of its own but has not publicized its decision, which will become clear in mid-December when the government publishes the list of bidders due to auction rules. Sprint has said it would not participate and is widely believed to prefer its Xohm WiMAX technology as a successor to 3G Internet rather than developing a new standard for data on the long-range, indoors-proof 700MHz spectrum. Fellow WiMAX advocate Clearwire has also chosen not to bid.
The partially revealed list suggests that competition may be strong for Google, which has touted the auction as essential to moving to wireless phone and Internet services in the US that are not tightly controlled by incumbent carriers. Verizon was initially suspected of pressuring the FCC to ignore Google's demands for open hardware and software access to drive the search engine developer out of the auction and buy the space for itself.