Apple Considering Participating in FCC Wireless Auction?

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Businessweek reports that Apple has studied the implications of joining the FCC Wireless auction to be held on January 16th.
The winners will get rights to use the spectrum that analog TV broadcasters are handing back to the government in 2009, given their mandated move to digital television.
....
Signals at the 700Mhz spectrum, for example, could provide far faster Internet access than today's cellular or even Wi-Fi networks, and the signals can easily pass through buildings and work glitch-free, even in lousy weather.
According to their sources, however, Apple is currently "leaning against participating" in the auction. With $14 billion in cash reserves, while Apple could easily afford participating in the auction, the logistics of running a "low-margin .... massive-scale network" could prove to be detrimental to Apple. This negative impact on Apple's margins and focus are seen as major reasons for Apple's reluctance to participate.

Winning its own piece of the spectrum, however, would provide Apple with the ability to offer its own wireless network service to devices such as the iPhone.
"Apple is the most anti-carrier company there is," says the former Apple executive. "They're probably already frustrated with AT&T. If they put a few billion behind this, they could build a kick-ass network."
The article goes on to the possible implications of such a purchase, but feels it is quite unlikely.

Google has been expected to make a bid on the wireless auction.


Article Link
 

Nickz

macrumors newbie
Jul 3, 2007
15
0
Woah!

What's next for Apple?

If Apple actually goes in and build up their own network, I guess we'll all have to break our contracts (again for the same of us) and move to their... ah.. let's see... iNetwork? iWireless?

- Nickz
 

thevofl

macrumors regular
Aug 7, 2006
191
160
What now?

I am intrigued by this. It seems to be more of a bite than Apple could chew.
 

NewSc2

macrumors 65816
Jun 4, 2005
1,044
2
New York, NY
Although it would cost Apple a poopload to bid on the network and set it up... I'd really like to see another company (other than AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon/Sprint) set something up. Apple + AT&T reeks of Apple + Motorola, where a great idea is hindered by a less-than-ideal network (edge? iChat?). I really hope Apple or Google or another company can make a dent in the big 4.
 

Bonte

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2002
974
196
Bruges, Belgium
Let Google buy it, they can make it free with advertising or something. Not a good market for Apple to be in, better work together on this.
 

Project

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2005
2,297
0
I dont think Google or Apple will end up seriously bidding for the spectrum. Its just too expensive. Google may meet the reserve price, but I cant see them spending the 2 or 3 times that amount that will eventually be needed.

Though maybe they go 50/50...... :cool:
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,267
85
I can only imagine Apple bidding if they'd be able to license it to partners of their choice for use with their own products. I think it would be a bad decision for Apple to attempt to build an entire network of their own.
 

iMikeT

macrumors 68020
Jul 8, 2006
2,304
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California
Any guesses at what would happen if one of the big four cellular providers (or all of them collectively) acquires the band?
 

LoganT

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2007
2,366
116
How about Google buys the spectrum, provides free access to all with equipment made and sold by Apple???

The gPhone is the iPhone!!!!
That's exactly what I think.

I haven't investigated this but does the 700mhz wireless spectrum basically translate to free wifi everywhere?
 

Zadillo

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2005
1,538
39
Baltimore, MD
I dont think Google or Apple will end up seriously bidding for the spectrum. Its just too expensive. Google may meet the reserve price, but I cant see them spending the 2 or 3 times that amount that will eventually be needed.

Though maybe they go 50/50...... :cool:
Honestly I can't see why Google wouldn't; they are flush with cash, and this spectrum is exactly the kind of thing Google would want to own so they can offer services for it (and their whole model seems to now be built around offering free services in order to sell advertising).
 

Project

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2005
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Honestly I can't see why Google wouldn't; they are flush with cash, and this spectrum is exactly the kind of thing Google would want to own so they can offer services for it (and their whole model seems to now be built around offering free services in order to sell advertising).

No they arent. Apple have slightly more cash reserves than Google.
 

fastbite

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2007
682
0
London
I'm of the school of though, as others here, that together with google maybe. Otherwise I think it feels too risky.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
5,416
3,776
Not likely. I have no doubt they discussed it, but I doubt the conversation went far. This is too far outside Apple's competence. This would really drag the company down, even if they spun off a subsidiary. I could picture them making a sizable minority investment in a third party that was bidding-- maybe a Google spinoff or something.

In the end, I think this is going to Google or Sprint. Google really wants to step clear of the existing Internet backbone because of the whole network neutrality argument. Sprint wants a nice chunk of spectrum to host their WiMax rollout.
 

drater

macrumors 6502a
Oct 6, 2005
715
0
The bowels of CT
I think that Apple should invest in this somehow. The only problem is it would be hard to compete with google if they decide to go after it, only because I think if google REALLY wants it, they will go as far as they have to to get it.

But it would be a nice thought, and iPhone + no ATT = grand life
 

.:R2theT

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2007
283
0
VR6
Record company first!

Personally, I think we would see Apple start an iTunes recording company(actually signing artists) before we see them become a wireless provider. Heck, they may do it all. Apple seems to have no problem reinventing and refreshing itself into new markets as it pleases. They do seem to have an awful lot of irons in the fire, though.
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,238
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Not sure what you mean... You mean Apple can only offer a GSM version of the iPhone through AT&T? Seemed to me the deal restricted them from partnering with Verizon et. al.
No, I thought it was a 2-year exclusive on at&t Mobility, and a 5-year exclusive on GSM.

Though that may be horribly incorrect.
 

mrthieme

macrumors regular
Nov 29, 2006
209
0
This whole topic has been very exciting, the idea of a good wireless connection everywhere we go along with a way for many to break away from the monopoly that providers have in many areas. A network like this, if it were fast and dependable could replace my cell carrier, cable provider for internet and television, and maybe even the phone landline to my house. A collaboration with Google and Apple would be interesting to say the least. I see a chance to stick it to many markets here, and I would gladly pay to help the cause.
 

hob

macrumors 68010
Oct 4, 2003
2,004
0
London, UK
As mentioned by some already, I think Apple would be wise to invest in a Google project that was going ahead.

Presumably this would mean that Apple gets first dibs on anything Google was offering.

I wonder if this will happen in the UK in 2012 - when Analogue TV is shut off totally.
 
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