The decision is a blow to the telecoms, specifically T-Mobile, which is keen to protect revenue from its own wireless networks and had raised concerns that the service would disrupt the company’s 3G wireless network. The next step is to create rules for the new network, and then auction off the spectrum sometime in the first half of next year.
It could be a while before proposed network actually materializes, however. The free nationwide wireless service would have to reach 50 percent of the U.S. population in four years and 95 percent within a decade. It remains to be seen if anyone will be tempted to bid for the spectrum and then pony up millions of dollars in infrastructure.