This isn't exactly what we had in mind when we pined after an iPhone unshackled from AT&T's network, but hey, it could work. BusinessWeek is reporting that a couple of sources have relayed that Apple is contemplating a bid in next year's FCC auction for the coveted 700MHz band, spectrum being freed by the move from analog to digital television. The auction has generated a groundswell of interest from behemoth players (Google, anyone?) thanks to its nationwide availability and the fact that it provides sufficient bandwidth for high speed services; it's not a shock, then, that Apple would want a crack at it considering its cash reserves and its recent entry into the wireless game. It pretty much goes without saying that AT&T and Apple are frenemies at best, locked in a marriage of convenience -- Apple needed a network and AT&T needed a smash hit. If the company could go it alone down the road with an even faster network all its own blanketing the States, we imagine that'd put a smile on Steve's face. The open access requirement could be a sticking point for a company as proprietary as Apple, but hey, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it; they've gotta outbid Mountain View first.

[Via Phone Scoop]

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Apple mulling 700MHz spectrum bid?