Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Google Breathes a Sigh of Relief

I suspect that when we see the identity of bidders in the FCC's 700 MHz auction (Auction 73), we'll see that Google was the last bidder on the package of licenses making up the C block covering all 50 states.

The last bid on that package, at about $4.7B - which came in about a week ago - was enough to push it over the reserve price and ensure that the so-called "open access" requirements Google lobbied for will apply to whoever wins the licenses. However, bids on the individual licenses comprising the package have been increasing in the interim, and have now exceeded the package price.

These bids are, without a doubt, coming from the incumbant telecoms. Google, not wanting to get into the capital-intensive, low-margin, highly-competitive network operator business, can now sit back, secure in knowing that it has acheived its lobbying end via a shill bidding strategy. It's an open question whether the "open access" requirements are truly meaningful - they are in many ways the final battle of yesterday's war, and far more toothless than what Google originally wanted. Still, you've got to admire the execution on Google's strategy here.

No comments: