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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

December 4, 2007 at 9:30 AM

Guessing the participants in the next spectrum auction

Monday was the deadline for companies to tell the FCC whether they were interested in participating in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction.

The airwaves are going on sale because TV broadcasters are being required to move off their current spectrum to running on HD. This block of airwaves is commonly called “beachfront property” in the wireless world (although there’s some debate about whether that’s true — for instance, it’s supposed to work better in rural than urban areas).

Although applications were due yesterday, the FCC hasn’t yet announced who is showing interest. That hasn’t stopped people from speculating. I’d say there’s above-average interest in this auction because it could create an all-new wireless carrier in the U.S. (like Google).

Some companies have already let their position be known. For instance, we know Google is throwing its hat into the ring, and that Time Warner is not.

TechCrunch speculates further on where other companies stand. It’s a pretty interesting and complete list, so it’s worth checking out:

IN:

Google

AT&T

Frontline Wireless

Clearwire

Cox Communications

Verizon Wireless

OUT:

Comcast

Time Warner

Sprint Nextel

Microsoft

POSSIBLES:

T-Mobile USA

Qualcomm

Nokia

Sony Ericsson

Alltel

Leap Wireless

Would Nokia launch its own network? Will Frontline and Google, who share a desire for open networks, team up? Will Google be there to strictly bid up the price of airwaves so the winning bidder will be required to make them open?

I guess we’ll have to wait until Jan. 24, when the auction starts, to see what happens.

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