Microsoft founder joins spectrum auction

Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, is entering the upcoming US wireless spectrum auction, according to official documents.

Microsoft founder joins spectrum auction

Allen heads an investment company called Vulcan Spectrum, which will bid in the FCC auction of the 700MHz spectrum, scheduled to begin on 24 January.

Auction applicants also include Google and the US wireless providers AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Despite rumours that satellite television operator EchoStar would be entering the auction, it is not mentioned in any documents relating to the auction and representatives of the company could not be reached for comment.

The FCC-run wireless auction is expected to take several weeks, with the spectrum to be auctioned off in several blocks. This spectrum is being freed up in the move from analog to digital broadcasting in early 2009. Signals in the frequencies on offer can travel long distances and penetrate thick walls.

The auction is seen as a last opportunity for a new player to enter the wireless market. Google and other Silicon Valley leaders see the wireless spectrum as a way to create more open competition for mobile services and devices than those currently available on existing networks.

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