Sunday, July 22, 2007

Government to auction a swath of airwaves: business model for mobile industry is debated

Miguel Helft and Stephen LaBarton have an important story on page A1 of the Saturday July 21, 2007 The New York Times, (in Technology online, link here: (may require registration and purchase): “Google Pushes For Rules to Aid Wireless Plans”

The largest search engine company is advocating a plan in which a consumer, when buying a cell phone or mobile device, be able to connect to any telecommunications carrier. The report notes that the company could bid over $4.5 billion for a slice of the nation’s airwaves to be auctioned by the federal government – as long as there is a “neutral” environment for consumers and carriers. The company believes that ad revenue could pay for additional systems development and infrastructure for all carriers to allow this choice.

Major carriers have lobbied against this idea, calling it “corporate welfare” and claim that they need the flexibility to develop targeted products and services for different kinds of customers who might pay more when using certain specific items of hardware in order to have faster access. Arguments like this have come up in conjunction with certain industries, like health care and hospitals, where preferred access might have a valid justification

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