Google did not actually want the spectrum licenses, that ultimately went to Verizon and AT&T. Google’s objective was to secure a bid that met the $4.6 Bn price tag that would enforce the regulations they had lobbied for open applications and open devices. Google admits this strategy in their Public Policy blog:
“[...] as the FCC was setting rules for the auction last summer, we urged the Commission to adopt four openness conditions. Further, we vowed to bid at least $4.6 billion in the auction if the Commission adopted all four rules. Even though the FCC ultimately agreed to only two of the conditions, which nullified our original pledge, we still believed it was important to demonstrate through action our commitment to a more open wireless world.”
More details on the auction in NYT’s article here.
Google is quite smart, and the objective of forcing “openness” to wireless operators was achieved – at least from a legal standpoint. This openness can only be beneficial to the end user and it definitively fosters innovation vs. oligopolistic practices.
On the other side, the high price paid for Spectrum, somehow legitimates the need for Wireless operators to behave as oligopolies to get a return.
FCC should rather enforce the openness clauses for the benefit to the Society. This conditions would probably make spectrum less costly, and it would force Wireless Operators to build their business case counting on “openness” instead of oligopolistic control.
Again, bravo for Google and its “openness” cause.