Google Plans to Bid on Mobile Airwaves

Google said Friday it will bid for coveted mobile airwaves in a move that could pit the Web search leader against U.S. wireless service providers.

The Silicon Valley-based company said it will submit a formal application with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Monday.

Google's application to bid for the 700-megahertz wireless spectrum does not include any partners.

The radio waves are being returned by broadcasters as they move from analog to digital signals early in 2009. The signals can go long distances and penetrate thick walls. The auction is seen as a last chance for a new wireless player.

Google and other Silicon Valley leaders see the wireless spectrum as a way to create more open competition for mobile services and devices than existing networks -- putting the industry on a footing similar to the free-wheeling Internet.

The company won some changes in rules governing use of the spectrum several months ago, but was denied other requests, including a rule that would have required winning bidders to resell access to their spectrum on an open wholesale basis.

Other expected bidders include AT&T , and Verizon Wireless , the No. 1 and No 2. U.S. wireless network operators.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group.

If its bid proves successful, Google could operate a wireless network itself or seek partners to help it build out the network and to potentially resell wireless services.