The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that it plans to add 300MHz of spectrum to the mobile broadband mix by 2015. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski (News - Alert) detailed the plans last week. The addition of the much-needed spectrum is the latest step the agency is taking to deliver on the 2010 National Broadband Plan.
Several blocks will be opened up for mobile services, including a section between 1755MHz and 1780MHz, which would have to be shared with government agencies. Rethink Wireless is reporting that T-Mobile (News - Alert) is particularly interested in that band, which adjoins its existing AWS spectrum. The wireless services provider has lobbied hard for the government to support sharing in order to free up more frequencies faster.
The first sale of spectrum is likely to be the AWS-2 H Block, whose proceeds are expected to fund the national public safety network, which has been under development for some time. Sprint is reportedly most interested in these frequencies, which will allow the company to boost its already complex LTE (News - Alert) infrastructure.
The new spectrum comes just in time. As Americans adopt more and more Internet-connected devices, the need for spectrum grows more urgent. Today, only 15 percent of available wireless spectrum supports wireless devices but the number of devices is growing unchecked and expected to do so in the future.
In just a few years, it may not be only phones and tablets, but also smart home appliances to personal health monitoring devices needing connectivity, reported the Huffington Post. While wireless providers are investing in their own networks, there is only so much they can do without more spectrum, and too little available airwaves will exacerbate the “mobile traffic jam” some densely populated areas are already experiencing.
While the 300MHz is a start, wireless companies say it’s a very minimum of what they need to meet rapidly growing mobile data use by consumers over the next several years. CTIA (News - Alert), the main trade group for U.S. cellular carriers, has called for 800MHz of additional spectrum by 2015.
Edited by Brooke Neuman