When the applications were submitted to the FCC to bid in the forthcoming 700MHz wireless spectrum auction, it appeared that there were going to be a handful of major bidders: Verizon, AT&T, Cox Communications, Frontier Wireless, MetroPCS, and Google. In fact, there were 266 would-be bidders that submitted applications, although the FCC accepted only 96 of them. The rest were deemed incomplete.
Google Airwaves, Inc. was one of the 96 accepted applications, while many others were put on the incomplete list, including Alltel, AT&T, Cox, Chevron, MetroPCS, Qualcomm, and numerous others. These incomplete applications are being returned to be revised for resubmission.
Simply because a company has submitted an application does not mean that it’s compelled to bid, and many of these companies may wind up not bidding in the auction. The bidding will begin on January 24, but it could be until March before a winner is identified.
It’s by no means clear that Google will succeed in the auction. If the company were to win, however, it’s not clear what it would do with the spectrum; possibilities include licensing it to others or becoming a wireless carrier or ISP itself. However, there are many Google critics who contend that if the company is actually seeking to become a wireless operator, it underestimates the cost and difficulty of successfully doing that.