CTIA's Baker: Unlicensed spectrum is important too

The new head of the CTIA said that unlicensed spectrum is an important element of spectrum policy, though she reiterated her organization's quest for additional licensed spectrum below 3 GHz. Meredith Attwell Baker, who recently took over command of the CTIA from former president Steve Largent, pointed to a recent study from the Consumer Electronics Association that found that unlicensed spectrum generates $62 billion annually for the U.S. economy.

"We applaud CEA for continuing to raise awareness of the centrality of spectrum to our daily lives. Just as we all rely on our smartphones' 3G and 4G service, we also depend on their Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities," Baker wrote on the CTIA's blog. "As we move toward an ever more connected life, our reliance on spectrum--licensed and unlicensed--will only grow exponentially."

Baker's comments are noteworthy considering the CTIA is the main trade association for wireless carriers like AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), which continue to call for the FCC to release more spectrum for licensed use.

Although Baker expressed support for both unlicensed spectrum and licensed spectrum, she did offer a glimpse into where her loyalties lie: "Along with its paper, CEA released a great video on what a day without unlicensed spectrum would be like. I happened to watch that video on my smartphone on my carrier's 4G network. While a day without unlicensed would be challenging, a day without your smartphone and licensed spectrum is nearly impossible!" Post