Mobile Future

Report Calls for More Spectrum to Meet Surging Mobile Data Demand and Intensify Wireless Competion

Unavailable spectrum means missed opportunities for mobile, U.S. economy, global competiveness  

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today, Mobile Future and Thomas  Hazlett, Professor of Law & Economics, George Mason University and Managing Partner, Arlington Economics LLC, released a new report, Radio Spectrum for a Hungry Wireless World, which finds that more spectrum for wireless networks is needed now in order to meet the unprecedented and continually rising consumer and enterprise demand for mobile devices and to maintain the levels of intense competition in today’s mobile market. The report discusses the many positive impacts of spectrum-based mobile communications and sums up an analysis of spectrum policy with three key lessons learned:

  • Additional spectrum creates its own wireless demand. Relieving spectrum bottlenecks by allocating substantially more frequency space will lower costs for consumers and entrepreneurs alike, encouraging competition and robust wireless growth;
  • Mobile markets need liberal licenses. Spectrum-based technologies evolve continuously and quickly. Regulators are uniquely situated to maximize a new wave of spectrum-based innovation.
  • Allocating spectrum after demand swamps network capabilities is a barrier to progress.  Companies  – wireless carriers, device makers, media producers, technology vendors or daring upstarts – need to be able to deploy new services quickly, and if necessary buy spectrum to support the new services without waiting for a 6-13 year FCC proceeding.

Today, the sophistication of even the most basic mobile application, coupled with increasingly easy to use smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other portable devices, as well as “machine-to-machine” communications, are transforming the way we live and do business. Indeed, a thriving wireless marketplace has been the silver lining to the U.S. and global economies in the last few years. However, exploding demand for these products and services threatens to overwhelm wireless networks. Rapidly increasing data traffic from video streaming, apps, and social media on handheld devices will unduly limit the mobile customer’s communications experience if more spectrum is not made available.

“With data-intensive applications gaining popularity, and user interfaces on devices getting less complicated, the march of progress towards all things mobile threatens to swamp existing facilities. The mobile data tsunami is not forming unexpectedly,” Hazlett explains. “Network managers seek to adjust to the rising tide, but relaxing spectrum constraints will ease the crunch, expand network capacities, intensify competitive forces and quicken the pace of economic innovation. To leave spectrum allocations for U.S. providers too thin will intensify trade-offs, squandering vast opportunities. The hopes of all will be dashed unless generous new dollops of radio spectrum are made available to the market.”

Not only is additional wireless spectrum beneficial for consumers, it is widely recognized by top economists and the Obama Administration as a necessity for building a vibrant 21st century U.S. economy, creating more high-paying jobs and allowing U.S. companies to better compete in the global marketplace.

“With the current rapid pace of mobile innovation, adoption and growth, the nation’s appetite for wireless could out-strip capacity in just a few short years,” said Jonathan Spalter, chairman of Mobile Future. “There is too much riding on our nation’s economic future and innovative progress to let this valuable resource lay idle and not be put to its most efficient use. Now is the time for policymakers to take the necessary steps to maximize the innovative, economic and competitive opportunities that forward-looking spectrum policies will help deliver.”

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Mobile Future is a coalition of cutting-edge technology and communications companies, consumers and a diverse group of non-profit organizations, working to support an environment which encourages investment and innovation in the dynamic wireless sector.  Our mission is to help inform and educate the public and key decision makers in business and government on the broad range of wireless innovations that are transforming our society and the nation’s economy.