Spectrum Winners & Losers – What Now?

The quiet period following the FCC’s wireless airwaves auction ended on Thursday and the winners – and the most notable loser – had plenty to say.

Google was pretty darn vocal about wanting the C block of wireless spectrum, but it didn’t appear all that upset when the license for the coveted airwaves went to Verizon Wireless for $4.74 billion. The New York Times reports that the lack of disappointment was more than appearance; Google really didn’t want to own the spectrum, just drive the bidding up past the $4.6 billion mark that meant the winner would have to open the airwaves to third-parties.

The company reportedly kept outbidding itself to drive up the price, even when there were no competitive bids and almost found itself out a huge chunk of change.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless said on Friday that it would use its new spectrum to “capture the full potential of its announced plan to deploy a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network and Open Development Initiative and the resulting next wave of wireless innovation.” No big surprise there.

AT&T won some prime B block spectrum in the auction. It plans to combine that with some C block spectrum it acquired from Aloha Partners last year to build out a nationwide fourth-generation network, InformationWeek reports. Because AT&T’s C block spectrum didn’t come from the FCC’s auction, the company isn’t subject to the restrictions that Verizon Wireless faces with its $4.6 billion purchase.

We have to ask…Does this mean that we’ll start hearing rumors about a 4G iPhone while we’re still waiting for the 3G iPhone to become a reality?