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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Google still interested in wireless bidding?

The FCC has announced their decision on the rules governing the auction of a segment of wireless spectrum.

The "open access" provision favored by Google and other advocates of opening the airways was approved. This should allow more participants in the wireless space including software and handset providers.

The FCC was split on the other major provision and as a result, we will not see the winners of the auction required to provide access to their networks on a wholesale basis.

What will Google do now? Their official reaction is that they will study the rules before deciding whether to continue with their plans to bid.

In my opinion, they should save their money. The success of the "open access" provision ensures that Google's software and services will be available to users. This is a win for Google, who has already stated that the mobile market will be a focus for the company. Unless they are determined to create a "gPhone" and/or sell wireless services (and these are probably among the less likely scenarios) the failure of seeing the wholesale access provision approved will not really have much of an impact on Google.

In the meantime, Google's public statements on opening up the wireless industry has earned it some good press with consumers and consumer groups. And if their involvement helped the FCC obtain sufficient consensus to approve the "open access" provision, it was well worth it.

Disclosure: this author owns no shares in Google.

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