FCC Delays 700MHz Auction Admidst Much Weeping, Wailing, Gnashing of Teeth

With how ugly the fight for the 700MHz auction has gotten, the FCC has decided to delay the auction by eight days. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin also announced that there will be a limit of $10B on bidding, a move designed to keep big companies from outspending all of their smaller rivals. This comes as Frontline Wireless asks that Verizon be barred from the auction over their pending lawsuit against open access requirements, smaller carriers complain that they don't have a chance and AT&T (among others) voices that the rules are unfair. I could see why some of the potential bidders would be upset. After all, it's come out that the FCC allows some well-connected lobbyists to skirt rules and get information ahead of rivals.

Meanwhile, AT&T has decided to side-step some of the furor and snap up some 700MHz bands from Aloha Partners that won't be up for auction. They'll also not be subject to the same open access rules that the upcoming auction will be encumbered with. That might not matter as the FCC considers the so-called "cellular Carterphone" rule for all cellular phone carriers that would allow any device to be used on any network.

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