Originally published: September 26, 2011
Last updated: September 26, 2011 - 8:57pm
According to a CitiGroup market analysis, there is no shortage of spectrum and control -- not availability -- of that spectrum is the constraint on mobile broadband. Citi says that U.S. carriers have 538 MHz of spectrum, but are only using 192 MHz, with another 300MHz "waiting in the wings" -- the amount the Federal Communications Commission is planning to free up.
"Too much spectrum is controlled by companies that are not planning on rolling out services or face business and financial challenges," said Citi. "And, larger carriers cannot readily convert a substantial portion of their spectrum to 4G services, because most existing spectrum provides 2G-3.5G services to current users." "We do not believe the US faces a spectrum shortage," Citi says. "However, unless incumbent carriers accelerate their 4G migration plans, or acquire more underutilized spectrum, upstart networks -- like Clearwire, LightSquared and Dish -- could have a material speed advantage over incumbent carriers provided that they can clear meaningful hurdles for funding and distribution." CTIA: The Wireless Association fired back, pointing out that the 300 MHz Citi presumes is in the wings includes 120 MHz of broadcast spectrum.
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