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Google Says It's Not Leaping Into the FCC Spectrum Auction

Alphabet is out.

Rafe Swan | Getty Images

As the government prepares to auction off desirable telecom airwaves, industry incumbents are eyeing one another suspiciously. They can breathe a little easier: Google, once considered a wild-card bidder, will not be in the running.

“Like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we’ll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely,” a company spokeswoman said. “That said, we have not filed to participate.”

That’s probably good news for the other carrier participants, like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Back in 2008, Google surprised the industry by making a bid on the Federal Communications Commission auction, in which it was ultimately outbid.

It’s also good news for other outside participants, namely Chamath Palihapitiya, the venture capitalist who has pledged that his upstart company will participate in the bid.

Last year, Google launched Project Fi, a wireless service that partners with T-Mobile and Sprint. Google parent Alphabet also has various wireless initiatives housed under Access, including the Fiber broadband business. In addition to Google, no other Alphabet company plans to file for the FCC auction, according to a source close to the company.

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