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Apple likely to bid for 700MHz

Posted: 12 Sep 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Apple iPhone  700MHz bid  iPhone speed 

Apple Inc. has studied the possibility of bidding in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's upcoming 700MHz auction in a move that could enable owners of Apple' iconic iPhone to download videos and music at faster speeds.

According to a report on the Website of BusinessWeek, two sources have said Apple has studied the possibility of bidding in the January auction. The earliest date the 700MHz spectrum could be in use for wireless users would be in 2009, however.

The 700MHz spectrum, which has been used for TV broadcasting, is considered particularly valuable for wireless service providers because signals operating at that frequency can easily penetrate walls and buildings and because it would be relatively easy to build out services for mobile phone users.

If true, a move by Apple to bid in the auction would place Google Chairman Eric Schmidt in an awkward position. Schmidt is on Apple's board of directors. To complicate the situation further, Google is reported to be considering marketing its own mobile phone, a device that would likely compete with Apple's iPhone. Schmidt has said Google may bid in the 700 Mhz auction.

BusinessWeek reported that one of its sources said Apple is leaning against bidding in the auction; the provisioning of wireless networks is generally a low-margin business and Apple likes the high margins its iPhones, iPods, computers deliver.

Service for iPhones on the 700MHz network would enable iPhone users to get off AT&T's slow Edge network and upgrade to the higher-speed 700MHz network. Currently iPhone users can access higher-speed network services through Wi-Fi connections.

- W. David Gardner

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