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Google officially in auction

We didn’t get a chance to follow up on this on Friday, but Google has officially announced their intentions to bid in the coming 700 Mhz spectrum auction. It had been assumed that the company would put down billions for the spectrum, but they had not registered their intent with the FCC until Friday. They’re looking to become fully ensconced in the wireless world, having formed the Open Handset Alliance in November. Now they could have their own carrier on which to run the software (though they don’t necessarily need one — Sprint and T-Mobile are part of the Alliance).

Despite much speculation that Google could take on partners such as Apple or a carrier like T-Mobile, they will bid on this by their lonesome.

“If they’re not partnering, it means that they have sufficient funds to win the auction,” said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at San Francisco-based Global Equities Research. Google could ask another company to help it build a network if it wins, he said.

Google may spend $12 billion or more to acquire airwaves suitable for wireless Internet access, including the portion the FCC has designated for open access, said Chowdhry, who advises buying the company’s shares and doesn’t own any.

The airwaves the government is selling are optimal for high- speed data connections. Google wants wireless service providers to allow more handsets on their networks to increase the time consumers spend surfing the Web. Online advertising accounts for 99 percent of Google’s sales.

Sprint could be the company to build out the network (though we’re not sure how likely that is), since they will not bid on the spectrum. There is no word, at least at this point, of T-Mobile’s intentions, but it’s unlikely that they’d get into it with corporate supergiants Google, Verizon, and AT&T.

And remember, AT&T has some leverage after the purchase of Aloha Wireless, which had some 700 Mhz spectrum of its own.

[Bloomberg]