Google Inc said on Friday that the Internet leader would bid on coveted airwaves to launch a U.S. wireless network, putting it in competition with traditional telecommunications players AT&T and Verizon.Google said in a statement that it was ready to go it alone rather than rely on partners in bidding in the Federal Communications Commission-run auction of 700-megahertz wireless spectrum due to begin on January 24.
The company said it would make its official filing ahead of the FCC deadline on Monday for companies to declare their interest in joining the airwaves bidding.
“We believe it’s important to put our money where our principles are,” Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said. “Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today’s wireless world.”
Wall Street investors have reacted cautiously to Google’s latest move to expand beyond its core Web search and online advertising franchises, worried the potential upfront costs and eventual network build-out could exceed $10 billion.
But several analysts have speculated that Google was more interested in ensuring certain requirements for network openness and that it was bidding just to preserve those rules.
Google shares were down $3, or less than 1 percent, at $694 in morning Nasdaq trading.
Bidding separately instead of assembling a coalition does not rule out Google later signing up partners if it wins the bidding, said a source familiar with the company’s strategy.
Compliments of Reuters