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Huge roadblock to Google’s spectrum bid

You ever get that feeling that you’re missing a key piece of information when making an argument? Yeah, we had that feeling with Google and the 700 MHz spectrum auction. Yeah, their bidding on and winning a block of open-access spectrum seemed highly appealing; they’ve done a lot of good with the company, and it makes perfect sense that they would be the ones to bring us sensible cell phone service. However, there’s quite the obstacle standing in their way: the physical network. Current estimates have it costing $12 billion, and taking three years to build out. So is Google willing to make such a commitment?

Google rep Rick Whitt talked with students at George Washington Univeristy about the auction, how much it would cost, and how Google could go about its bidding. He didn’t talk specifics, but he did offer up this:

“We may line up some other high-tech companies or smaller telecoms. Some of the second- and third-tier companies may be willing to work with us,” Whitt said, adding that Google is willing to talk with “anybody who thinks it makes sense to join us on this.”

Once again, people have to be thinking of a partnership between Google and Apple. With Verizon’s lawsuit apparently changing the open-access provision, Google is going to have much more serious competition. By pairing with Apple, they bring the financial might to outbid the AT&Ts and Verizons.

The partnership would also split the costs among the parties, rather than having Google foot the entire bill. Honestly, that’s how we see this going down if it goes down at all. Verizon will cause the government to abolish the open-access provision, so if Google is to win in a bid against Verizon, they’re going to need help. Probably more than just Apple, too.

[eWeek]