Apple iPhone mania forces scramble for more airwaves

Apple Holiday Blowout “Wireless devices such as Apple’s iPhone are transforming the way we go online, making it possible to look up driving directions, find the nearest coffee shop and update Facebook on the go. All this has a price – in airwaves,” Joelle Tessler reports for The Associated Press.

“As mobile phones become more sophisticated, they transmit and receive more data over the airwaves. But the spectrum of wireless frequencies is finite – and devices like the iPhone are allowed to use only so much of it,” Tessler reports. “Now wireless phone companies fear they’re in danger of running out of room, leaving congested networks that frustrate users and slow innovation. So the wireless companies want the government to give them bigger slices of airwaves – even if other users have to give up rights to theirs.”

“That won’t happen without a fight. Wireless companies are eyeing some frequencies used by TV broadcasters, satellite-communications companies and federal agencies such as the Pentagon. Already, some of those groups are pushing back,” Tessler reports. “That means tough choices are ahead. But one way or another, Washington will keep up with the exploding growth of the wireless market, insists Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va. He is sponsoring a bill that would mandate a government inventory of the airwaves to identify unused or underused bands that could be reallocated.”

“Two trends are driving the demand,” Tessler reports. “First, advanced new wireless applications – such as mobile video and online games – devour far more bandwidth than voice calls or basic text messages… Second, consumers are flocking to wireless Internet connections, in some cases dropping landline accounts altogether. ABI Research projects U.S. mobile broadband subscriptions will climb to 150 million by 2014, up from 48 million this year and 5 million in 2007.”

Tessler reports, “The FCC’s attention for now is on TV broadcasters, which hold nearly 300 megahertz of airwaves that are mainly used to serve just 10 percent of American homes – those that still rely solely on over-the-air TV signals… Wireless carriers are also setting their sights on frequencies held by companies that deliver voice and data services through satellites… Some of these companies have a lot of bandwidth but not a lot of customers.”

Full article here.


  1. I’m ready for MobileMe Satellite from Apple. It’s only a matter of time before Apple has their epiphany about an even tighter verticle market using satellites to further distinguish themselves from the herd.

    I’ll see one in orbit in the next ten years. Heard it here first.

  2. I’m sure it’s just coincidence that the cable and phone companies who provide wireless AND SUBSCRIPTION TV PROGRAMMING are pointing out that the FREE broadcast TV is the first place to look at shutting down when bandwidth becomes scarce. That wouldn’t be self-serving at all…nope…just ask them and they’ll tell you…cross their hearts and hope to die.

    BTW, I dumped Comcast and Dish NEtwork for an antenna back in June. I get BETTER HD reception than satellite or cable and it’s FREE!

  3. OTA, over the air, does not give you “better HD reception” than cable, it gives you greater bandwidth, so that the image is less compressed.

    I highly recommend anyone who lives near a large city to try putting an antenna in their garage, using to help site, and determine channel availability. I helped my bro-in-law do that in Denver, and he couldn’t be happier. Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, as I live in Maine and the only OTA channel I get is PBS. The networks are too far away, even with a large roofmounted antenna.

  4. Why doesn’t the government already have an inventory of the wireless spectrum? Are we to believe that they assign frequencies without being able to check to see if a particular frequency is already in use? Actually, I’m not surprised.

  5. totally agree free antena and crystal clear hd but with direct tv i had to pay extra for the hd get out of here. The cable companies need to go! Extra for this extra for that, they would sell their mother if they could charge u extra for it. The invention of cable was only supposed to serve areas that couldn’t pick up reception and needed a direct connection, now look whats it turned into. lol intro to media actually came in handy !

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