As expected, 700 MHz auction results in same faces

It appears everything went as planned for Google. It didn't have to cough up any money in the 700 MHz auction but it ensured the open-access provisions (at least most of them) that it fought for at the FCC. But with the same faces, namely Verizon and AT&T, emerging as winners in the auction, the auction isn't going to change the face of the wireless telecom industry as industry pundits had hoped.

As exciting as it would have been to see a newcomer to the wireless landscape, incumbents such as Verizon have the wherewithal to spend billions on licenses and billions more to build out network infrastructure. That's their core business. And with the 700 MHz band the last of the so-called beach-front property, operators were prepared to drive the price up to a hefty level, especially given the fact that new 4G networks need a nice chunk of extra spectrum, about 20 megahertz, to deliver the broadband data speeds that are advertised.

So the question is, how "out of the box" will Verizon be in the C Block? We're already seeing that Verizon's new open-access policy on its existing network requires a few hoops to jump through, namely third parties must first get their devices certified by the operator. And that process is expected to take four to eight weeks to complete. Likewise, the C-Block rules include a "minimal technical requirements" clause when it comes to any device and application running on the network. Certainly, whether or not these technical specifications are easy for developers to use has bearing on whether or not third parties can create innovative and compelling applications.

Will it become an environment where developers are put in a position where they have to foot the bill to build devices and services and then keep their fingers crossed that Verizon will certify them? How attractive of a proposition will that be?--Lynnette