Apple: Eyeing wireless spectrum auction?

It's clear that the Federal Communications Commission's auction of 700 MHz wireless spectrum was important. But so important that Apple will become a bidder?

It's clear that the Federal Communications Commission's auction of 700 MHz wireless spectrum was important. But so important that Apple will become a bidder?

According to BusinessWeek, Apple is pondering whether to join the FCC's auction. Keep in mind the Jan. 16 wireless auction is for spectrum that TV broadcasters are handing back to the government in 2009. The auction is attracting interest from the usual players such as Verizon and AT&T, but also Google and eBay.

Apple is reportedly interested for obvious reasons. It could use the spectrum for an iPhone network and better connections between iPods and Apple TV. An Apple-owned network could make connections between its products seamless. BusinessWeek reports that Apple is leaning against bidding for the wireless spectrum at the moment due to profit margin worries.

BusinessWeek says Apple could:

  • Build a better walled garden with the wireless spectrum and possibly sell advertising;
  • Take more control over the iPhone, which currently depends on AT&T for access;
  • Move into services and subscriptions instead of downloads;
  • Offer free voice services and have a partner build the network.

Apple's bid is a long shot. But on paper an Apple bid makes some sense and could change the game. Look for more speculation as the FCC auction nears.

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