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1/9/2008
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Frontline Fails To Raise Cash For Wireless Auction

A Frontline spokeswoman said the company "is closed for business at this time."

Frontline Wireless, a high-profile startup, has failed to raise the financing it needed to bid in the FCC's upcoming 700 MHz auction. As a result, Frontline has ceased operations, according to media reports.

Frontline seemed to have everything it needed: backers included former FCC chairman Reed Hundt, venture capital titans John Doerr, James Barksdale, and K. Ram Shriram, as well as an endorsement from former FBI director Louis Freeh. It had ingenious technology developed by Vanu Bose, a family member of Bose audio fame. Its chairwoman was Janice Obuchowski, a former assistant secretary of commerce.

What Frontline didn't have was money, or enough money. Auction participants were required to post more than $1 million in recent days. Frontline had estimated a build-out of the wireless public safety emergency network it proposed could cost as much as $10 billion.

As a result, a Frontline spokeswoman said the company "is closed for business at this time. We have no further comment," the Associated Press reported.

In early December, the startup company said it filed a short-form application with the FCC to participate in the auction. According to a recent compilation of prospective bidders, 266 entities companies have filed to participate.

They range from telecommunications giants like AT&T and Verizon to small companies seeking spectrum for isolated rural areas. The company that has drawn the most attention is Google, which has promised to bid. At the same time, Google has unveiled a wireless strategy around its Android Open Handset Alliance that could have a major impact on existing mobile phone operations.

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