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AT&T Next Up for Google's Nexus One

HTC, the Taiwanese builder of the Nexus One smartphone and a variety of other Android-based phones, has submitted documentation to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that point to signs of a new and possibly different Nexus One phone for the A&T network.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) sells the HTC-made phone under its own brand name. Thus far customers have had two choices: buy a phone with a two-year contract on T-Mobile's smaller network for $179, or buy an unlocked phone for $529 and use it on AT&T's older, EDGE network.

At the launch of the Nexus One in January, Google executives said they had plans to offer a phone for Verizon later this year. Verizon, however, is a CDMA-based network, as is Sprint Nextel.

The paperwork filed with the FCC clearly indicates that tests have been done on a GSM network. Only AT&T has that kind of network in the U.S. Despite the moaning from iPhone users about poor network performance, AT&T (NYSE: T) does have a much larger network than T-Mobile.

The HTC documents reveal the phone in question will operate in the 3G wireless bands for WCDMA Bands I, II, and V, which are used by AT&T and several Canadian and European wireless providers. That would allow Google to expand the phone's reach outside the U.S.

One of the documents filed with the FCC shows the new label on the device, which is identical to the original Nexus One, but the FCC ID number has had one digit change. The old Nexus One has FCC ID NM899100 while this new device has the FCC ID NM899110. This would indicate a new phone that is just a variation of the previous device.

"At this point we don't have any comments about specific new products or launches," Google said in a statement e-mailed to InternetNews.com. "More generally, our strategy continues to be to grow our new consumer channel through the addition of more phones, operator partners, and countries."

The Nexus One, while well-reviewed for its sleek look, has started slowly, only selling around 20,000 units in its first week of availability. The feeling was it was too much of a risk to take buying a phone sight unseen, since it is only sold direct from Google and you can't go into a T-Mobile outlet and play with one.

There have also been complaints about spotty 3G service, the high cancellation fees, and last week the network suffered a nation-wide service outage.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.