Data-hungry smartphone users are putting the pinch on wireless carriers, gobbling up spectrum with streaming music and movie downloads. Networks are already stretched to the limit, but with consumers adopting smartphones at an increasing clip, carriers are scrambling to find added spectrum to support their usage in 2012 and beyond.
And any help from lawmakers is no guarantee. The pending spectrum bill – which would free up airwaves used by broadcasters -- is currently in legislative limbo in D.C.
Yet while AT&T focused its energy on the doomed T-Mobile takeover, Verizon was busy brokering spectrum deals with cablecos. It recently paid Cox Communications – which torpedoed its own wireless division earlier this year – $315 million for 20 MHz of AWS spectrum. Verizon also struck a $3.6 billion spectrum deal with Comcast,Time Warner, and Bright House.
In 2012, it’s likely that wireless carriers will keep getting cozy with cablecos in their endless quest for spectrum.