As the above video states,“2011 wasn’t just the year of mobile. It was the year mobile took over the world.” As mobile continues to infiltrate our daily lives, data usage will surge. More people with more devices pulling more data will require more spectrum – the airwaves that all that data traffic runs on. However, the FCC and many other industry experts offer a troubling prediction – the United States isn’t keeping up with this spectrum demand and is likely to run out of airwaves by next year.
Rapid growth in consumption will lead to a deficit if supply is not replenished. In 2009, when wireless traffic was less than half of what it is today, we had a surplus of 377 MHz. However, by 2014 demand is expected to increase more than 12 fold. To provide reliable service for the hundreds of millions of mobile devices that are likely to exist in 2014, we will need to add another 275 MHz of spectrum at a minimum.
There are ways to do this, but many require time and cooperation. The FCC promises extra spectrum through public auctions of underutilized airwaves. Service providers are consolidating services by transitioning spectrum for older wireless technologies to newer, faster LTE networks. But this still isn’t enough. We need more.
Wireless companies have been investing in answers to the spectrum crunch, putting new satellites into orbit, building new LTE networks, even working within the “white spaces” between channels. But entrenched interests with significant influence on the government continue to thwart many of these efforts. We are protecting legacy technology at the cost of tomorrow’s more effective, efficient and reliable solutions.
As technology advances and more commerce, education, medical assistance and household communication travel over wireless networks, we need solutions to the spectrum crisis. If we don’t act now, 2012, 2013 and 2014 will be the years mobile stop talking over the world and came to a screeching halt.