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To License or Not to License

May 4, 2011

I am at IEEE DySPAN 2011 in Aachen in Germany. The keynotes for Wednesday have just taken place. Dave Cleevely was one of the speakers. As usual Dave had interesting comments to make. During his talk, Dave proposed that 20 MHz of spectrum be made available (around the 2.6 GHz band)  for unlicensed use. He made an argument for this on the basis of an economic analysis of revenues associated with different frequency bands. His presented a graph which captures this – see below. It shows that the unlicensed bands, though costing much less, appear to be much more valuable economically – so much so that the value is off the scale. The shaded pink area is the unlicensed area.

You need to click on the image to read it more clearly. I am not sure I completely buy into the message or interpretation of the data but I find it an interesting suggestion. I wonder if it is possible to create an equivalent graph showing the opposite?  Having said that, David has gathered his facts and figures from multiple reliable sources and did say that even if the calculations are off, the big difference in magnitude between the value of the licensed and unlicensed remains.

David also makes the point that 20 MHz of spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band is small and not much to give up in the name of innovation.

David is also stressing the idea of a portfolio of approaches – he maintains we don’t have to pick one way of doing things. Hence he argues don’t auction all of the 2.6 GHz – put some aside for unlicensed. In other words we don’t need all our eggs in one basket.


From → Cognitive Radio

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