Spectrum Bridge, an online marketplace for second-hand wireless spectrum sales, is looking to give its users more knowledge and expand beyond just U.S. transactions.
The company opened last year based on an idea from four Mesh Networks executives: unlike selling tchotchkes on eBay or oil in a stock exchange, working with spectrum requires industry experience and a knowledge of physics. On the business side, sellers pay a transaction fee, with consulting services available to buyers.
Companies that aren’t service providers typically are unaware that it is realistic to purchase a small swath of spectrum, such as a city block’s worth, for just a few thousand dollars. Meanwhile, larger regional sales are starting to appear from the FCC’s recent 700 MHz auction, Stanforth said.
To help, Spectrum Bridge this year intends to hire experts who would serve a similar role to real estate brokers and who would help match buyers and sellers beyond the company’s SpecEx online service, CTO Peter Stanforth explained. Also planned are a variety of tools to provide knowledge of license transactions, revenue models and vertical markets.
The company has FCC support, 27 employees and previously raised $10 million in funding. Beyond 2009, Spectrum Bridge will look at international sales, he said.
Industry analyst Craig Mathias, of Farpoint Group, said he’s unaware of any direct competition for this niche and that another future option could be subletting – essentially renting spectrum for short-term projects without the hassle of legally buying it. Spectrum is a perishable commodity, he noted.
However, other than the FCC itself, “They’re really the first to put together a Web-based marketplace for spectrum. I think it’s a brilliant idea. I think it’ll become very important down the road,” Mathias said. “All of the stars have sort of aligned for them here. The big challenge they’ll have is like any other company – marketing.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations