Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wireless: Spectrum Crunch - No Easy Way To Alleviate It, Cost To Go Up

There is a spectrum crunch that is creating problems for users and the wireless companies.  What’s causing the spectrum crunch in the US?  According to CNN, the following are the main causes:

  • Leading off is iPhone, iPad, & other mobile devices like Androids that are using more data than expected. Also the adoption rate of these mobile devices have increased.
  • Inept government regulation – what used to work doesn’t anymore and the FCC has not moved fast enough
  • Industry protectionism like the TV broadcast industry trying to wall off their spectrum.
  • Hoarding – there are spectrums out there that are not being used.  Dish Network, we’re looking at you.

How much of this can be fixed quickly isn’t known.  We can use more Wi-Fi but all of this is giving carriers reasons to ration and cap wireless use – thus driving up costs for end users like us mobile warriors.

The problem isn’t really the users but a combination of carriers, industry players, and the government not working together to solve this.  As the article mentioned, there is not one quick solution.  What will get us through this is going to be a patchwork of new technology, policy reforms, and new innovative thinking.

And it’ll take a while.  A long, long while because there is just too much fear and too much entrenched interests.  And new comers are in no hurry to make things happen.

Translation:  costs could go up for the average mobile user.  Our only long-term hope is that the winners of any spectrum war or realignment will not have too much power to dictate how we use our wireless devices or have the ability to charge us whatever they want.

Source:  CNN Money.

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