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Verizon Wireless Drops Its 'Open' Stance For 700 MHz Auction

Oct 26, 2007 (09:10 AM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=202602041


Verizon Wireless has backed down from its challenge of the Federal Communications Commission over the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction by dropping its complaint over the "open" provisions of the auction rules.

The company said in a filing Tuesday with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that it would no longer appeal the provision.

As a backdrop to the filings, Verizon and Google have been squabbling over the open sections of the spectrum that would permit wireless consumers to use mobile phones of their choice and download software of their choice. Google's chairman Eric Schmidt has said Google will "probably" bid in the spectrum auction if certain open provisions are protected by the FCC.

Verizon's confrontation with the FCC hasn't been entirely relegated to the dustbin, however, as mobile phone association CTIA also has filed a challenge to the FCC that is similar to the appeal originally filed by Verizon. Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group.

When Verizon filed its opposition to the FCC's decision to set aside about one-third of the 700 MHz spectrum it argued that the FCC rules were "arbitrary, capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law."

The initial filing, however, drew an immediate protest from Google, which said in its public policy blog: "It's regrettable that Verizon has decided to use the court system to try to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services... The FCC's auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers -- for the first time -- to use their handsets with any network they desire and download and use the lawful software applications of their choice."

Before that, when Google first indicated it might bid in the auction, Verizon had complained that the search engine colossus was seeking to "rig" the auction in its favor.

Verizon and CTIA have long argued that existing cell phone service providers deliver ever-improving and less expensive mobile phone service, making it unnecessary for new open approaches.