Sunday, September 16, 2007

Apple's 700 MHz Play

Apple's 700 MHz Play: Simply a Part of a Google-Led Consortium?
By Bryan Gardiner September 10, 2007
Categories: Apple, Telecom, Wireless

The news that Apple is now considering entering the FCC's 700 MHz bidding process in January had many slightly perplexed this morning. Why would a hardware company -- one that's doing quite well on almost all fronts -- be interested in wireless spectrum?

Business Week, the source of the original report, pinned Apple's potential interest on things like using the spectrum for an IPhone network and better connections between iPods and Apple TV. The reality, however, may be a bit different, according to Dewayne Hendricks, CEO of Tetherless Access. Apple's involvement may actually signify nothing more than an attempt by Google to round up companies with similar interests and form a type of bidding consortium, Hendricks said.

"One of the points that was brought up this morning was that [Eric] Schmidt is on Apple's board of directors," Hendricks told Wired News. Considering that $4.6 billion reserve price is by no means cheap, he says Google has probably been petitioning other companies to throw in a little change to help foot the bill (not that Google or Apple would have much trouble coming up with such cash).

"In that sense," Hendricks said, "it becomes a lot more feasible for Google to actually enter the bidding process," something the company has still not officially said it will do.

"Google made it pretty clear with their filing why they're doing this," Hendricks continued. It's basically a problem of getting to the end user, and Google doesn't want to be blocked by the cartel, he said, referring to the big telecom players like AT&T. "Wireless is last opporunity to do that because all the land lines are owned by the cartel."

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