Broadband Cell Phones: Is Your Marketing Plan Ready?

Last Updated Jan 24, 2008 5:28 PM EST

Is Your Marketing Plan Ready?700MHz C.

It doesn't sound sexy, but starting today this block of the wireless spectrum is to be auctioned off for more than $10 billion. Verizon, AT&T, and Google are expected to be the prime bidders for the "C Block" spectrum.

Why so valuable? According to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin, quoted in the New York Times:

The spectrum that we are auctioning off is going to be the building blocks for the next generation of broadband services. It can carry lots of data, penetrates walls easily, travels far and allows for very good broadband wireless service. It will allow a wireless platform to be another competitor in the broadband space.
Essentially what we are talking about is the enabling of a new generation of cell phones to become broadband monsters. And that, says Harvard Business blogger John Sviokla, opens a whole new world of marketing opportunities for business.

"As mobile devices and services improve, they will provide new opportunities for firms to put the right offers to the right people at the right locations -- which will drive demand."

Sviokla says business leaders better start getting ready for this new opportunity, which is likely to be deployed in 2009. Ask yourself three questions, says he:

  1. Can you take advantage of the emerging open wireless capabilities?
  2. Are you aware of the new possibilities to promote your product or service?
  3. Do you have the talented individuals who understand what is going on, and what to do about it?
(Cell phone image by Yeray Hernandez, CC 2.0)
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.