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700MHz auction set to begin tomorrow, suits in a tizzy

Nilay Patel
01.23.08
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After months of fevered debate, last minute legal maneuvering, bitchy press releases, and drastic reversals of course, the most boring part of the 700MHz saga begins tomorrow: the actual auction. Yep, the pre-battle snipefest between Google and Verizon is over, the last participants have registered, and the FCC has set a minimum price of $10 billion per five blocks of spectrum, so it's time to ante up. Of course, the auction will take two months and is totally confidential and sealed, so we won't know how anything plays out until March, but the FCC will be posting each day's bid anonymously on it's web site, so that'll be fun. Interestingly, most analysts are predicting that Google will walk away empty-handed after making a token bid at the outset, since it's basically already won all the open-access provisions it wanted. Of course, that doesn't explain why we've heard that there's a secret 700MHz test network down in Mountain View and Ed Schmidt has said that he'll put Google's "money where our principles are," but again -- we won't know till we know. Paddles up!

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