June 29, the date of the FCC Auction 66, is approaching, and numerous non-industry players could potentially line up to acquire spectrum licenses in the 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz band. The permissible operations of this band comprise what the FCC calls "Advanced Wireless Services", which is
"the collective term used for new and innovative fixed and mobile terrestrial wireless applications using bandwidth that is sufficient for the provision of a variety of applications including those using voice and data (such as internet browsing, message services, and full-motion video) content"
In other words, there are virtually no limitations in terms of what technology and services can be deployed, which drives the option value of this spectrum (here and here) up. In fact, Clearwire's IPO seems to have been timed in a manner to allow McCaw's venture to use the IPO proceeds for acquiring spectrum in the AWS auction, at least so writes Business Week. I previously mentioned how TimeWarner has filed an application for the AWS auction, Business Weeks extends the list of the possible participants to Microsoft, News Corp, Leap Wireless and - tada - Google, though not directly, but through EarthLink, which declined to comment on any participation in the auction.
Bottom line is that possibly a lot of money might be thrown at these frequencies, with new players othern than the CellCos entering the market. My prediction though is that whatever services these companies are looking to deploy, voice will be among them. And given that the winners of the frequencies might turn out to be non-traditional wireless carriers, it could be a huge opportunity for wireless VoIP.
In addition, what I also find interesting is the Business Week article mentioning that Comsearch, a cosulting firm, is working with several of the bidders. The FCC rules prohibit that bidders communicate with each other, be it directly or through an intermediary. Comsearch better have some big Chinese Walls...