CTIA: It takes 13 years, on average, to reallocate spectrum for carriers

According to a new white paper produced by CTIA, on average it takes 13 years to reallocate spectrum for commercial wireless use. The lobbying organization said that it believes the industry will need more than 350 MHz of new licensed spectrum by 2020 to cope with rising mobile data demands. Yet the trade group said that after next year's planned incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, the "traditional licensed spectrum pipeline is empty." CTIA said it is "incumbent upon policymakers to take that first step, to begin the process as soon as possible" to reallocate more spectrum for commercial mobile broadband.

CTIA noted in its report that the FCC, in its National Broadband Plan, measured the reallocation process starting from the initial order to the granting of the licenses or an auction's closing. However, CTIA said this measurement "underestimates the total time by discounting the often lengthy time required to get to an order" and also does not show when spectrum is actually deployed.

"The policy implication of these facts and the 13-year average is clear: we must begin now to identify the 350 MHz of licensed spectrum to meet the increase in wireless traffic expected in 2019 and beyond," CTIA said. "Some suggest these challenges necessitate a departure from the goal of clearing spectrum for wireless services. However, such delays are not new, spectrum's quality as a finite resource is not a recent development, and these lengthy timelines are not constrained to mobile wireless services." Article