Dismantling The Case For Spectrum Scarcity

Wireless carriers are frequently complaining about the limited spectrum available for mobile services, and are constantly lobbying the FCC to assign more spectrum for their use. But if spectrum is so scarce, why do the carriers’ actions show a wanton disregard for this scarce resource by forcing gobs of data and content to unnecessarily utilize this scarce spectrum when the data could be sent much more economically by a PC-to-phone cable? Of course, the answer is that they have established a toll booth over their wireless link, so they can charge for every ringtone, wallpaper, photo, message, etc. that you send to or from your phone. So even when you sit at your desk, a photo in the phone in your right hand, and you want to transfer it to the PC in front of you, the carrier requires you to send the photo over the wireless link and back to your PC…for a nominal fee. While this may make sense from the carrier’s perspective, it doesn’t make sense from a user’s perspective, and in the long term, what’s good for the customer will overcome resistance. Customers are already demanding modern phones with “backdoors” like unencumbered Bluetooth, Flash memory, Open OSes, and sync cables. This doesn’t mean carriers won’t have opportunities to earn profits, it just means they shouldn’t get too wedded to their current inefficient model.

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