The volume of mobile-based traffic has exploded during the past several years, first with the proliferation of smartphones and now with the growing popularity of tablets. And mobile carriers in need of more spectrum to satisfy demand recently received some good news from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
PC Magazine reported that the organization voted to auction off spectrum to mobile service providers. The decision was the result of a unanimous vote, as members of commission said they recognize the need for spectrum as smartphones and tablets generate more wireless traffic than ever before.
Much of the spectrum to be auctioned off will come from broadcast television stations that have unused bandwidth. These companies will participate in the auction process, which will get started first with a public comment period, on a voluntary basis. The idea of such auctions was first introduced with the FCC’s Mobile Broadband Plan in 2010.
Yankee Group Principal Analyst Ken Rehbehn comments
“By voting to kick off the incentive auction process, the FCC ventures into the greatest spectrum experiment attempted to date in the U.S. This complex process is important because success means an assured supply of high quality, lower-band spectrum required for mobile broadband data growth—particularly in rural areas.
Just as important, auction success is needed to secure funds for the U.S. FirstNet public safety mobile broadband network build out. While Congress included $7 billion to make the public safety network a reality, the legislation links funding to proceeds from this novel incentive auction—an effort that aims to make surrender of lesser-used television spectrum financially compelling.
To win, this grand effort must actually stand as a win-win-win for television spectrum holders (sellers), mobile operators (buyers) and the U.S Treasury finding a sweet spot that works for all. When coupled with spectrum repacking following the sale of underused assets, the result should be a clean and viable band plan serving as an important pillar of future mobile broadband growth.”
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