Last night the FCC gag rule came off, and the winners of the 700 MHz frequency auctions were free to describe their service plans. The two major winners, Verizon and AT&T, both weighed in, and not surprisingly, they’re both looking at deploying services based on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. Most notable was that neither of their visions included any mention of WiMAX.
They did make it clear that we should not be anticipating any new services in the 700 MHz band for three years. Given the wireless industry’s track record regarding new service rollouts, you can safely tack two or three years on to that prediction.
The most interesting comment came from AT&T Wireless’ CEO Ralph de la Vaga. Ralphie was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying that the spectrum AT&T acquired was more valuable as it was “not encumbered” by open platform conditions like the C Block that frequencies Verizon bought.AT&T likes their customers hog-tied.
While I am pleased that Mr. de la Vaga’s observations regarding spectrum valuation agree with the observation I made in a post last week, it’s clear that the cellular carriers’ are still addicted to the “walled garden” view of wireless data services. Of course, this does not bode well for flexible mobile unified communications solutions. I wonder if AT&T can develop an upbeat advertising program around “handcuffs”?