Internet giant, Google, may well control the direction of the next-generation wireless networks after it announced Friday that it would bid in the US Federal Communications Commission''''s auction of 700 megahertz band wireless spectrum.
In case it wins, Google could build a wireless network for that spectrum on its own, or partner with others. Either way, Google would come close to controlling the Internet experience on mobile devices, and also the extent to which people would like to pay for such services.
The 700MHz spectrum travels far and penetrates walls, which gives it the potential to expand the Internet to a new frontier.
The spectrum auction is scheduled to begin on January 24, 2008 and the deadline to apply to participate is Monday.
Google and other Internet companies have not been able to expand their markets into the wireless space mainly because of the stranglehold that carriers maintain on the cellular industry.
In the US, consumers are locked into a particular network and the software that it runs on through their handsets. This severely restricts their ability to use the Internet on their mobile devices in a manner similar to the way it is used on PCs.
Now Google executives say their aim is to bring the same PC-style Internet openness to the mobile world so that users have more choice in mobile services and applications, as well as price.
A Google-branded wireless service would attract more eyeballs to its ad-based services. So far Google has managed to turn Web search into an $11 billion business on PCs by selling simple text ads that appear with search results. With ownership of spectrum thrown in, the market is set to become more lucrative.
However, according to analysts, a new network on the spectrum may not come into play until 2010, at the earliest.