The Spectrum Wars continue, folks. Remember how AT&T wanted to purchase T-Mobile? That was about more than market dominance. It was about spectrum.
For those not in the know, there’s a limited amount of wireless frequency available for use. The FCC licenses out publicly available spectrum, but there have been warning signs of an upcoming crunch. As more and more people use their cellphone for more than just making calls, each company’s allotted piece of the wireless pie gets smaller and smaller.
Verizon is currently trying to purchase some unused spectrum form a consortium of cable companies. They don’t really need it, what with their products being wired (or should I say, cabled). Verizon would like to take it off their hands for $3.9 million. The Wall Street Journal reports that in Verizon’s FCC filing, there’s a warning that without this added capacity they may start seeing issues due to network overload as soon as 2013. That’s a pretty grim picture, to be sure.
Sprint, flush with their public part in the killing of the aforementioned AT&T/T-Mobile deal, is already tut-tutting this deal, with pay-as-you-go provider Metro PCS also coming out against it. Don’t think they’re on your side. At the end of the day, they just want spectrum for themselves.
If I may be blunt, the quest for more bandwidth is well and good, but it could also be helpful if carriers, hardware makers, and app developers got their acts together in terms of consumption of said bandwidth. We’ve gone from a handful of smartphones that sip data to a plethora of connected devices that suck down data on a near constant basis. Some of the blame of course lies at the feet of the consumer, who have gotten used to constantly being connected and always want more at all times. Still, there might be a more efficient way of giving bandwidth to carriers that’s easier on your bottom line and your network infrastructure.