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Bidders in latest FCC auction start talking

The gag order has been lifted and Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Qualcomm, and Google have all start revealing their wireless strategies in relation to the auction.

Companies bidding in the Federal Communications Commission's 700MHz spectrum auction are starting to talk.

The gag order that silenced those participating in the FCC's auction that ended last month was lifted late Thursday. Now companies are free to discuss their plans and strategies for bidding in the auction.

Verizon Wireless plans to use its newly won wireless spectrum licenses in the 700MHz auction to deliver 4G services, CTO Tony Melone told the wireless news site Unstrung.

Verizon Wireless paid nearly $10 billion for licenses in the C block, which are subject to a special FCC rule that requires the winner to allow any device to connect to a network using this spectrum. Verizon will use the spectrum to deploy a 4G network using long-term evolution (LTE) technology. The company expects to have an LTE service deployed in late 2009, the article quotes Melone as saying.

AT&T also said it plans to use the $6.6 billion worth of spectrum it bought in the B block to build a 4G network using LTE, according to RCRWirelessNews. The company will also use spectrum it won in the 2006 advanced wireless services (AWS) auction for the new network.

But the company doesn't plan to roll out the new network any time soon. According to RCR Wireless, AT&T's CTO doesn't expect the technology to be ready until 2012.

Other bidders in the auction have begun to talk, as well. Google, which had also been bidding on the C-block spectrum, said its main goal in bidding was to make sure the $4.6 billion reserve price was met so that the open-access rule would take effect. Richard Whitt, Washington telecom and media counsel, and Joseph Faber, corporate counsel for Google, wrote about Google's strategy on the company's Public Policy Blog on Thursday.

Cell phone chipmaker Qualcomm said it plans to use licenses it bought in the E block to provide more capacity for its mobile broadcast TV service called MediaFlo. Qualcomm spent a total of $558.1 million on licenses in the E block and a few licenses in the B block. The E-block licenses will expand MediaFlo coverage in areas such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

And the B-block licenses, which cover parts of California and New Jersey, will be used for research and development.