Feeds

US mobile hero Frontline Wireless goes titsup

Only Google can save the airwaves

Boost IT visibility and business value

Frontline Wireless, the uber-startup that was poised to lay down a bid for a prime portion of the US wireless spectrum, now says it's "closed for business".

"Frontline is closed for business at this time," spokeswoman Mary Greczyn told us. "We have no further comment."

The news will come as a shock to anyone who's followed the brouhaha over the so-called 700-MHz spectrum, a slice of wireless bandwidth due to be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) later this month.

Little more than a month ago, when Frontline officially joined the list of bidders for the spectrum, the company told us it was "bidding to win". But on January 4, bidders were required to fork over an "upfront payment" prior to the actual auction, and you have to wonder if Frontline was able to pay up.

The upfront payment for the 700-MHz "D-Block" - which will house a public safety network but might also be used for commercial purposes - was $128m, and the payment for all-commercial "C-Block" was $282m. Until today, Frontline was expected to bid for both.

Backed by a former FCC chairman and another Washington insider who once led the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under President George H.W. Bush, Frontline was one of the main reasons - along with Google - that the FCC attached an "open access" requirement to the 700-MHz auctions.

With an open access requirement, the spectrum's winning bidder will have to open it up to any device and any application. At least in theory.

The rub is that the likes of Verizon and AT&T may play fast and loose with this requirement. For instance, AT&T recently told USA Today that its existing network is completely open - though it still makes no effort to get the word out to the masses with widespread marketing.

Meanwhile, Verizon says it will open its network by the end of the year. But how open it will really be?

With Frontline out of the running, hope for a truly open network now lies with Google. And putting all our eggs in Google's basket makes us feel a little, well, uneasy. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.