Google joins a slew of wireless and telecom companies looking to bid in next year’s FCC wireless spectrum auction. The FCC has published lists of the 96 approved bidders and 170 “incomplete” applicants that still have some paperwork to finish before a Jan. 4 deadline.
No-surprise applicants include: Alltel, AT&T (T), Verizon Wireless (VZ, VOD), MetroPCS (PCS), Qualcomm (QCOM), Cablevision (CVC), cable firm Advance/Newhouse, and U.S. Cellular (USM). Not applying to participate: Sprint Nextel (S), T-Mobile (DT), which spent the most money in last year’s spectrum auction, or cable giant Comcast (CMCSA), which controls the “SpectrumCo” cable venture that won a chunk of spectrum in the last auction. The Wall St. Journal ($) also sorted through the 266 applicants, finding a firm backed by Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, and Paul Allen’s VC firm, Vulcan.
We’re not shocked to see Google (GOOG) on the list: they caused a scene this summer getting the FCC to change some of the auction’s rules, and owed it to everyone to show up. But when the auction begins on Jan. 24, will they bid? Will they bid to win? We’re still not convinced the search giant wants to be a phone company.
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