Mobile Future

Spectrum: Fueling the Mobile Future

Smartphones, tablets and an ever-expanding array of mobile gadgetry have become ubiquitous in society. In ways large and small, we all bear witness every day to the fact that modern life is being transformed by the power of the Internet in the palms of our hands.

What makes it all possible? A pivotal resource with an elusive definition. In geek-speak we call it spectrum. But what IS spectrum? In a nutshell, it is the essential ‘invisible infrastructure’ that makes all mobile connectivity possible. Without allocating more spectrum for mobile, our nation’s appetite for wireless could outstrip capacity in as little as three to four years.

Today, Mobile Future is releasing a video, “Spectrum: Fueling the Mobile Future,” that seeks to explain why we need more spectrum to power the ongoing expansion of the mobile Internet, and the strong stake our nation’s 300 million wireless consumers have in what has so far been a highly technical and inside-Washington debate about the future of this critical resource.

What’s driving the sense of urgency? Fast-expanding mobile connectivity is poised to power the next wave of American innovation and job creation. Ensuring there’s adequate spectrum to keep pace is essential to the quality and reliability of mobile service that consumers take for granted today.

A few key facts about the coming (yet easily avoided) mobile capacity crunch:

  • Smartphones Set the Stage. Smartphones, with their robust and appealing capabilities, generate 24 times more data traffic than a basic feature cell phone–putting vast and quickly escalating strain on existing mobile network capacity;
  • Tablet Torrent. As consumers quickly embrace additional devices, led by iPads and other tablets, these devices generate 120 times the data traffic of basic cell phones;
  • Everyone’s Smart. By next year, more than half of all new phones purchased will be smartphones, exponentially driving up demand for adequate spectrum; and
  • Everything Connects. By 2014, 70% of all consumer electronics (not to mention medical, education, public safety and business tools) will connect to the mobile Internet.
Too little spectrum leaves too few options for the mobile innovation community: Unreliable service and performance, potentially higher connectivity costs and even rationing of wireless services. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. If Washington takes the right steps, right now, to constructively address the spectrum crisis and meet fast-expanding consumer demand, we can have all the wireless Internet we need to keep the mobile future bright.

Today, over 300 million American consumers take their mobile connectivity for granted. And, 90% of us feel so strongly about this connectivity that we keep our favorite device close to our hearts–literally within arm’s reach 24 hours a day. To keep mobile connectivity working for all of us, it’s time to raise our voices and be clear to our nation’s leaders: We need spectrum now.


This article was originally published on Huffington Post.


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