Verizon Wireless is downplaying a Google Inc. effort to have the Federal Communications Commission extract an explicit commitment from the No. 2 cellular carrier that it will adhere to open-access requirements governing a nationwide collection of regional C-Block licenses won at the 700 MHz auction.
Google, whose Android Open Handset Alliance includes Sprint Nextel Corp., T-Mobile USA Inc. and others, wants the FCC to condition the grant of C-Block licenses to Verizon Wireless on the carrier’s promise to follow through on obligations to permit third-party applications and devices in the C-Block licenses. The Internet search-engine giant, whose $4.6 billion bid in the 700 MHz auction triggered the open-access rule for the C Block before Verizon Wireless ultimately secured the licenses for $4.74 billion, told the FCC there are signs the wireless carrier is not fully committed to open access in 700 MHz operations.
“The question of whether Verizon’s C-Block network will be open to any applications on any device has an enormous impact on would-be consumers, software applications developers, equipment manufacturers, service providers, investors, and others having a substantial interest in the prompt development of an ‘open’ C-Block network,” stated Google in a petition filed at the FCC. “The commission will best serve the public interest and all affected parties by using an order that affirmatively rejects Verizon’s stated position regarding its open-access obligations, and requires Verizon to affirmatively acknowledge, and agree to comply with the Any Apps, Any Devices obligation as a condition to the grant of the licenses. Failure to do so now will only foster uncertainty and delay, rather than innovation and investment.”
Verizon Wireless, which previously said it will apply open access principles to its existing wireless network, shrugged off the Google filing.
“This looks like sour grapes, said Jeffrey Nelson, a Verizon Wireless spokesman. “What a surprise, Google submitting yet another regulatory filing. We knew the rules of the auction before bidding and winning spectrum, and of course we’re going to abide by those rules.”