You can read a far more brilliant analysis by Greg Rose on why the punditry on the trickle of data from the 700 MHz auction is all wrong here. Briefly, Greg maintains that this slow convergence on the reserve price over several weeks of bidding is what to expect from a serious auction, and that the failure of parties to bid heavily on C or D Block in the early rounds with so much activity going on in the smaller blocks is a sign of a strong auction to come. Little players on the side are active for the specific licenses that they want, while the large bidders slowly stalk each other up to the reserve price on the major block.
For me, having stacked much on the Great Google Prophecy, I will cheerfully admit to being too close to things to judge objectively. But here are two tidbits of food for thought.
1) Google CEO Eric Schmidt made the evolution of the wireless net a centerpiece of his speech at Davos. How likely is it that Google CEO would hype the importance of wireless if they were not planing to win licenses?
2) Most analysts predicted Google would come in, bid the reserve price for C Block, and leave. They haven’t. So far, no one has bid the reserve price for C Block. Instead, the price has crept up gradually. Now it could be that Google will only bid high if it must, for fear of getting stuck with licenses it doesn’t want. But if that is the case, why show up at all? “To save face with the FCC?” Yes, but we will know after the auction when the identities of bidders and round by round information is revealed if Google never bid. So the “save face” excuse doesn’t really hold water. Rather, it seems likely that they are bidding like everyone else, i.e., like bidders that want to win.
Straws in the wind, perhaps. But no worse than the straws of data everyone else is trying to spin into gold.
Stay tuned . . . .