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Old 07-19-2007, 01:13 PM
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Exclamation "AT&T breaks ranks, supports Martin’s 700 MHz plan"

AT&T breaks ranks, supports Martin’s 700 MHz plan :: RCR Wireless News
Quote:
By Jeffrey Silva
Story posted: July 19, 2007 - 1:58 pm EDT

AT&T Inc. has abruptly broken with the mobile-phone industry by supporting FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s plan to guarantee that third-party devices and applications have access to more than a third of the spectrum set for auction. The move is a complete about-face for AT&T, which only a week ago warned the Federal Communications Commission that it faced litigation if any form of open access was attached to 700 MHz licenses.

“We believe Chairman Martin has struck an interesting and creative balance between the competing interests debating the Google plan,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive VP for external and legislation affairs. “The plan would enable the introduction of an alternative wireless business model without requiring changes in the business models of AT&T and others in what is a highly competitive wireless industry. … Based on these understandings, AT&T has no objection to, and would support, the chairman’s auction proposal.”

Cicconi did not say whether AT&T wants to bid on the two, open-access 11 megahertz spectrum blocks or any other 700 MHz licenses, stating the company will make those decisions after the FCC adopts final rules.

In a July 12 filing with the FCC, Robert Quinn, AT&T senior VP for federal regulatory affairs, laid out a very different position. “By adopting all or any aspect of Google’s proposal, the commission not only would inhibit broadband deployment by keeping the spectrum out of the hands of those that value it most and would use it most efficiently, but also would invite a serious legal challenge that would throw into doubt the commission’s ability to complete the auction on the timetable contemplated by Congress.”

The law requires the FCC to auction the 60 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band by Jan. 28, 2008. The agency could vote on final 700 MHz rules at the end of this month or early August. The Martin plan also designates for auction a national 10 megahertz block of spectrum for commercial-public safety broadband network.

Internet search engine Google Inc., Skype Ltd., Frontline Wireless L.L.C. and many consumer and public interest groups have urged Martin to go further than just allowing devices and applications to connect to licenses encompassing the 22 megahertz of spectrum, arguing innovation also requires a wholesale mandate.

Cicconi denied in a USA Today story that AT&T was considering bringing legal action against the FCC if it adopted the Martin plan. However, AT&T’s Quinn made reference to 700 MHz litigation three times in his July 12 FCC filing.

Verizon Wireless issued a statement reiterating its view on the FCC’s 700 MHz rulemaking.

“We remain guided in our principled belief that open and fair auctions serve everybody best: consumers, innovators, U.S. taxpayers. To rig the 700 MHz auction in any way—to limit its value and potential to deliver exciting new products and services—would be huge disservice to the nation,” the No. 2 mobile phone operator stated. That position is also backed cellular industry association CTIA.

It is unclear what prompted AT&T, parent of the largest mobile phone carrier, to so drastically change course.

One possibility is that AT&T reconsidered—on its own or perhaps through FCC encouragement—all the talk of litigation in connection with Martin’s 700 MHz plan. AT&T has interests at the FCC other than 700 MHz rules: One is the company’s nearly $3 billion bid to acquire regional cellular carrier Dobson Communications Corp. If Democrats make more gains in Congress and win the White House in the 2008 election, such transactions could become more difficult for wireless carriers and others to close.
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:13 PM
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Personally, if Google started a wireless company...I'd wait in line for that phone!
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:55 PM
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you have to pray Google Mobile will be UMTS
never, ever be CDMA, the no-freedom technology
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who says UMTS is voice only???
nokia 6263 tethered in UMTS

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