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Google bluffing on 700MHz bid?

Nilay Patel

With the stage primed for a heavyweight fight between Verizon and Google in January's 700MHz wireless auction, there's some chatter today that Google might actually be bluffing. Bloomberg is reporting that some analysts think that Google has been simply making a lot of noise so that the FCC would enact those controversial open-access rules, but that it doesn't intend to place bids beyond the $4.6B minimum. That strategy would mean that El Goog would get an open network upon which to play, but not have to pony up for the actual towers and infrastructure. Of course, this flies in the face of nearly everything else we've heard to date, like Google pronouncing that it's putting "money where our principles are," and possibly even building a secret test network on its campus, but it's not necessarily unthinkable -- with carrier partners in the OHA and Verizon's surprising decision to open its cell network, it certainly seems like Google's getting pretty good at manipulating airwave politics.

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