Why Spectrum Sharing Matters

A new white paper on What is Spectrum Sharing and Why Does it Matter? is posted on the Spectrum Futures blog. 

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.
To be sure, spectrum sharing also introduces a new element of business model uncertainty, because spectrum sharing can replace a large measure of scarcity with a large measure of abundance.
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