Mobile Future

New Report Outlines the Promise and Challenges of Spectrum Sharing

(Washington, DC) — Today, wireless network expert Peter Rysavy of Rysavy Research, in conjunction with Mobile Future, released a new paper, “Spectrum Sharing: The Promise and The Reality,” examining both the short-term potential from developing, testing, and implementing spectrum sharing technologies and the longer-term technical, policy, market, and operational issues concerning spectrum sharing.

The report identifies three significant factors that are fuelling the concept of spectrum sharing including the immediate need to provide additional spectrum to wireless broadband providers struggling to meet exploding consumer demand; the underutilization of some spectrum assigned to U.S. government agencies; and the progress being made in dynamic spectrum access through geolocation databases and cognitive radio.

While the report concludes spectrum sharing can and will eventually result in more efficient overall use of spectrum, the process of developing economically sound and technically viable spectrum sharing technologies in the longer-term will be both complicated and time-consuming.

“Although the approaches being used today solve relatively simple challenges such as geographic sharing, addressing more complex problems such as sharing between carrier-class networks and multiple government systems will be much more difficult and time consuming,” said author Peter Rysavy. “In fact, to realize the full promise of spectrum sharing could easily take ten years or more given the technical, regulatory and market complexities.”

The report encourages government to maintain focus on all available solutions including in the short-term placing priority on the rapid clearing and reallocation of spectrum while concurrently working with industry to develop and deploy sharing protocols and technologies over the long term.

“With more than 300 million U.S. wireless users and even more wireless subscriptions, every option must be on the table to make more spectrum available for mobile services. Spectrum sharing shows real promise. But policymakers must understand it will take years to implement fully scalable technology solutions. With the FCC predicting a spectrum crunch as early as next year, we don’t have a moment to waste,” said Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter. “The government priority must be on quickly getting as much spectrum as possible into the hands of American consumers, and the mobile broadband providers whose services they rely on.”

To read the report click here.

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Mobile Future is a broad-based coalition of businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals interested in and dedicated to advocating for an environment in which innovations in wireless technology and services are enabled and encouraged. Our mission is to 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. For more information, please visit