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AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint declared that they need more radio spectrum to run their services. Radio spectrum is the radio waves slice rationed by government that carries mobile calls and wireless data to be transmitted.
The companies have raised their demand because they feel that they need more slice of radio waves as per the increasing number of cell phone users and data services day by day. If not, they would be facing a crisis in slower or spotty connections on smart-phones and tablets. They have carefully given their tuned up statement that, with the laws of supply and demand, the cell phone prices will ascend.
But is there really a crisis danger? Or it is just a game played by companies to raise their services and service charges.
Former vice president of Motorola and Chairman of Dyna L.L.C., an incubator for new companies said that this crisis is just overstated and a exaggerated and has totally opposite opinion from the companies.
He also added that whenever a need of more spectrum has raise in last 100 years, a new technology has been launched to solve the problem correspondingly. Mr. Cooper who founded ArrayCom that develops soft-wares for mobile antenna technologies, with which he is no longer associated, was also present there sitting on the technical advisory committee of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
He also explained that it is the easiest way to expand the radio spectrum to get rid of the crisis, but this can also be solved by applying the latest technologies like improved antennas and techniques which could offload the mobile traffic too Wi-Fi networks and multiply the number of mobile devices that can be served by carriers at least by tenfold.
Nobody declines from the fact that smart-phones and tablets are increasing day by day and so is the data usage. According to a study published by Cisco, the networking company, mobile data usage became more than double in 2011 only. Cell phone communication takes place on electromagnetic radio spectrum that carries their calls and data usage, same as a FM radio signal or a walkie-talkie does. F.C.C. divides the spectrum differently by bands of frequency keeping in mind that no one wants their services to overlap with one another.
Military, TV stations, astronomy researchers and the phone carriers have different frequency band that has been licensed and handed out by F.C.C. carriers want to have more spectrum either by seeking approval by F.C.C. to buy the spectrum space at a government authorize auction or by purchasing licenses for it.
Verizon, being the largest carrier of the country has been trying to get the license like a hunt down. It has approached a group of cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast to sale the spectrum license they have. Some small wireless companies in the country like T-Mobile USA and others are opposing this deal by Verizon.
It is the belief of F.C.C. to add new spectrum as well as use new technologies to help the telecom industry evolve in a better way and Neil Grace, an F.C.C. spokesman said that “No single action is a silver bullet when it comes to meeting mobile capacity needs.” “More efficient use of spectrum, new technologies and unleashing new spectrum are all important part of the mix.” According to David P. Reed, one of the technical architects of the internet and a former professor of computer science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of technology said that making an argument that the nation could run out of spectrum is like believing that the nation could run out of color. He also adds that elector spectrum is not finite.
Mr. Reed is the senior vice president of SAP labs which provides business software. He explained that several technologies are available that are new in the market and are capable of transmitting and receiving signals without interfering with each other. It would avoid the separation of frequency bands.
The spectrum is treated as being finite because it is still divided on the basis of frequencies which is and old fashioned way of understanding how radio technology actually works. He stated this statement and also added that even hated the word spectrum. “It’s a 1920s understanding of how radio communications work.”
Why are the companies not using the newer technologies to get out of the crisis problem then? Because licensing spectrum is a very simple zero sum game that will allow the company to use the licensed band of radio waves and competitors can’t have it. Mr. Reed stated that the carrier companies want to retain their monopolies and so they haven’t advocated for the newer technologies.
David S. Isenberg, who used to work at AT&T Labs Research for 12 years before staring and independent consulting firm, said that the carrier companies have been very slow at their side in adopting the newer technologies to get out of the crisis. He added that service licenses come with obligations of serving ot the people but companies are not doing this in interest of helping people. They are asking for licensed spectrum just to make money from these customers.
The inventor of mobile phone, Mr. Cooper wants the companies to use the newer technologies rather than asking for more licensed spectrum to serve their customers. He said smart antenna is one technology that has the potential of helping the carriers to serve their customers more efficiently. A traditional radio antenna send signals in all directions and only one part of that signal is delivered to the desired cell phone. But the smart antenna is capable of sending the signals to the specific phones only, resulting into efficient use of spectrum.Fourth generation LTE networks are expected to adopt the technology of smart antennas but carriers haven’t starting installing them yet. These antennas will also start shipping in phones in the next two years.
When interviewed, the representatives of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint said that the new technology won’t be good enough to solve all the problems and they need more access to the nation’s radio waves for operating at their best. These technologies are like band aids to the wounds and they need to deal with a large capacity of bandwidth demands, said Kathleen Ham, vice president of T-Mobile for Federal Regulatory Affairs.
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