Spectrum sharing matters because communications spectrum is a scarce asset, and demand is growing very fast, both because billions of new Internet access users will come online, and because new Internet apps and devices consume vastly more bandwidth.
Spectrum sharing martters, in large markets, because there is, for example, almost no uncommitted communications spectrum available in the sub-2-GHz range.
Though there is an expectation that much spectrum in millimeter bands (3 GHz to 300 GHz) can be allocated for communications purposes, most of that spectrum will be severely “short range,” and hence best suited for indoor or small cell applications.
Global mobile data traffic grew 69 percent in 2014, and each succeeding mobile generation seems to grow consumption by an order of magnitude, according to Cisco estimates. Long Term Evolution (4G) devices consume an order of magnitude more data than a non-LTE device, for example.
Any smartphone tends to lead to consumption of 37 times the data of a feature phone, according to Cisco. And smartphones are becoming the standard global device. Where today 28 percent of customers use smartphones, that will grow to perhaps 52 percentby 2018.
Use of Internet access plans might reach 84 percent by 2020, according to Ericsson.
You can see where this is going. Younger users text more than they talk, and though today's users 25 and above still talk more than they text, the usage pattern is uniform: younger age cohorts text more than older age cohorts.
So as each age cohort advances, one might predict that texting behavior will grow over time. How much it grows is the only real question.
Users 18 or younger actually"talk" about as much as users 55 to 64. One suspects an awful lot of "voice" activity is of the coordination and collaboration sort, so that younger and mid-life workers might be in work groups that require more coordination than workers 55 to 64.
It is not clear where customer revenue or network cost now are the biggest obstacles to wider deployment of high-bandwidth or “gigabit” networks in either the United States or United Kingdom. A U.K. group representing competitive access providers claims fiber-to-home network costs now are substantially lower than in 2008, and faster fiber-to-premises investment would be made if some policy changes were made in the U.K. market. On the other hand, Google Fiber seems to have encountered not so much a network cost issue as a “lack of customers” (revenue) issue with its own fiber to home efforts. And cost reductions might have hit a plateau. To be sure, both capital investment and revenue are key components of the business model. But Google Fiber seems to have concluded that even lower FTTH costs (equipment, make ready, construction) are not sufficient if take rates are too low, as the stranded assets problem is so significant at low adoption rates. And Google Fiber is not the only major …
Looking only at markets in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, UK, Italy, Singapore and Taiwan, researchers at STL Partners have estimated core revenue losses of 25 percent to 46 percent between 2012 and 2018, potentially. In other words, to stay where they already are, in terms of revenue, service providers will need to create between 25 percent and 46 percent more new revenue over the six-year period. Big acquisitions are almost certain to be part of the answer. AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, for example, instantly made AT&T one of the biggest providers of video entertainment in the U.S. market, and changed its revenue profile by about $7 billion per quarter, or potentially $30 billion annually. It would have been virtually impossible to add that much revenue, so fast, by any organic means. In similar fashion, Verizon spent $130 billion to buy the minority stake in Verizon Wireless owned by Vodafone, boosting annual revenue by about $22 billion. Still, even tha…