Google plans to participate in the upcoming auction for radio spectrum in the 700-MHz band if certain conditions are met. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Friday that he sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin saying the company will commit $4.6 billion to the auction if certain "open" measures are included in the plan.
Google has been moving closer to participating in the auction in recent weeks.
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"Google's going to become a phone company," said Steve Arnold, a Google expert, in an interview Friday. "Since 1999 Google has been working toward becoming a telephone company."
In recent days, Google has praised Martin for moving closer to opening the 700-MHz spectrum. But in his new letter to Martin, Schmidt pushed four types of what he called "open" platforms. They are:
Open applications. Consumers should be able to download software applications and content, and use services without restrictions. Open devices. Consumers should be able to use any type of handheld communications device and not be limited to those provided by or approved by the wireless service provider. Open services. Third-party resellers should be able to obtain wholesale bandwidth or wireless services from any company that wins a 700 MHz license. Open third-party networks. Other networks should be able to interconnect at technically feasible points with a 700 MHz licensee's wireless network. Google's increasingly aggressive stance on the auction puts it on a collision course with major telephone companies such as AT&T and Verizon Communications....
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