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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 5, 2007 at 8:12 AM

Surprise, Clearwire will not bid for spectrum

On Monday, companies had to tell the FCC whether they were interested in participating in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction and, by Tuesday, everyone was speculating who those companies were.

I linked to TechCrunch, which had a pretty thorough list of who it thought was participating.

Kirkland-based Clearwire, the wireless broadband provider looking to eventually roll out WiMax, was a foregone conclusion — of course it would participate.

Well, today the company, founded by Craig McCaw, had a one-sentence SEC filing: “Clearwire Corporation announced today that it will not be bidding in the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 700 MHz band.”

It’s understandable why Clearwire would not want to bid. First of all, the spectrum it owns in the U.S. is in the 2.5 GHz band. Second, it holds the second-largest chunk of that spectrum in the U.S., following Sprint Nextel. Third, although its pending partnership with Sprint Nextel dissolved recently, there is no reason that the two companies couldn’t work together, or at least swap spectrum in the future.

I believe the only companies that officially said they were going to participate were Google, Frontline Wireless, and likely Verizon Wireless.

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