This afternoon the Federal Communications Commission announced the results of its 700-MHz spectrum auction. While the Commission's anti-collusion rules prevent us from saying much at this point, one thing is clear: although Google didn't pick up any spectrum licenses, the auction produced a major victory for American consumers.
We congratulate the winners and look forward to a more open wireless world. As a result of the auction, consumers whose devices use the C-block of spectrum soon will be able to use any wireless device they wish, and download to their devices any applications and content they wish. Consumers soon should begin enjoying new, Internet-like freedom to get the most out of their mobile phones and other wireless devices.
We'll have more to say about the auction in the near future. Stay tuned.
So Google feels that American consumers won a major victory? That opinion is not shared by some analysts, who were hoping for a bigger variety of spectrum winners. Instead, the two largest wireless firms in the nation added to their bulk and power. In some respects, this means less choice in the long run for consumers.
As reported back before the auction begun, Google never intended to win the spectrum in the first place. There's just no way it was really going to make the investment to build and operate a wireless network on its own. Google is an ad company, not a network company. Running a network would be too far a departure from its core competencies. But by bidding in the auction, Google forced Verizon to shell out the cash necessary to grant open access to devices and applications on portions of the spectrum.
Google will be all too happy to provide those devices and applications with its forthcoming Android platform. Google may not have won spectrum, but it won the right to use Verizon's spectrum. In the end, that's all Google probably wanted.