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Leap bounds into 700MHz auction

Cricket pounces

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Leap Wireless will bid for the coveted 700MHz band - a juicy slice of the US airwaves - joining Google, Frontline Wireless, Cox Communications, and most likely Verizon and AT&T.

The Federal Trade Commission plans to auction off the band at the end of January, and Monday was the deadline for joining the fun. That day, in a filing with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), Leap Wireless said it plans to bid "through an indirect wholly owned subsidiary".

The plan, according to company spokesperson Greg Lund, is to win a portion of the spectrum for Leap's Cricket subsidiary, which offers wireless service to people who don't like longterm commitments or background checks.

Leap may bid for the spectrum on its own, or it may bid in tandem with Denali Spectrum License LLC, a business entity in which Leap has a non-controlling interest. "We filed both to bid separately and to bid together," said Lund. "So it will be Leap and/or Denali."

What are Leap's chances? We can't imagine they're very good. Google tossed its hat into the ring last month. Uber-startup Frontline Wireless and cable operator Cox Communications put their gloves on this week. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Verizon and AT&T will join this broadband battle royale.

RCR Wireless News is reporting that Verizon is definitely in, but the company tells us this is not the case. "Verizon Wireless hasn't yet made an announcement on whether the company will participate," said company spokeswoman Heidi Flato. ®

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