Monday, July 17, 2006

Upcoming FCC Auction Will Mean Better Cell Services

InformationWeek reports that "telecom carriers will begin bidding for a chunk of precious wireless spectrum on Aug. 9, potentially easing the delivery of Internet content over the airwaves. The FCC hopes the auction will propel advanced features such as mobile Web browsing and video. But with spotty cellular phone coverage a problem nationwide, don't be surprised to see many of the winning carriers using it to improve existing services in the near term."

According to the article, "the FCC will auction 1,122 licenses in the 1,710- to 1,755-MHz and 2,110- to 2,155-MHz radio-frequency bands for what it calls Advanced Wireless Services spectrum, meaning that it's intended for new wireless applications that require a lot of bandwidth, such as Web browsing, messaging, and video. The FCC is reallocating the spectrum that's now used for various government and other services. Several major telecom carriers, including Cingular, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, have submitted applications to the FCC in hopes of snatching up more spectrum--a scarce commodity in the United States. It's been about 10 years since a similar auction. Eighty-one bidders were selected to participate out of hundreds of applicants."

Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin believed that "T-Mobile likely will be among the most aggressive bidders, since it can't upgrade its network to third-generation cellular without the spectrum. Its top competitors already offer 3G, designed to support multimedia data with speeds ranging from 128 Kbps to several megabits per second. Verizon Wireless likely will be a "bit more surgical" in bidding only to fill in gaps in its coverage needs." Golvin anticipated that "if Verizon Wireless gets spectrum, some of it will be used to offer mobile voice-over-IP services. Cingular, a potential bidder, had an incomplete application and has until this week to resubmit."