Apple considers wireless spectrum auction bid

September 24, 2007

Apple is considering bidding on wireless spectrum in the 700MHz band that will be auctioned by the FCC in January, “Businessweek” reported. Apple has the liquidity to make such a purchase, which is expected to go for about $10 billion.

Described as “beachfront property” by the FCC, the 700MHz airwaves being abandoned by analog television broadcasters is the last spectrum likely to become available that would have the attributes necessary for a new national wireless broadband network.

RF signals could provide far faster Internet access than today’s cellular or even Wi-Fi networks, and the signals can easily pass through buildings and other structures.

For Apple, controlling the spectrum would mean it would no longer be dependent on a cell phone company like AT&T to deliver wireless access and media content.

Apple could even give away wireless service for free and generate income from selling media for its mobile devices. It could also undercut the voice services of traditional cellular carriers by allowing iPhone owners to use an Internet telephony service like Skype.

Other potential bidders in the spectrum auction include Google, DIRECTV, and eBay, which owns Skype’s software.

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