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Approaching shortages of mobile broadband spectrum threaten to limit broadband deployment and economic growth

Mobile broadband is changing the way that people live and work by enabling access anywhere at any time. The growth and proliferation of mobile broadband services is increasingly an important part of overall economic growth. Access to additional radio spectrum is the oxygen of mobile networks, and the failure to adequately plan for the expanding demand for mobile broadband data usage threatens to limit development, innovation and competition in this service. Informed observers expect significant spectrum constraints to become apparent within the next five years or so, due to an on-going large increase in the data traffic in mobile broadband networks. The process of allocating and assigning spectrum for mobile service is a time consuming process in most countries and efforts to harmonize spectrum at the international level takes considerable long term planning (e.g., 10 to 12 years). Because of this multi-year process often required to allocate and assign new spectrum resources to operators, ICC has prepared this discussion paper to inform governments and regulators about the economic benefits of taking action now to ensure that sufficient spectrum is available to support the increasing demands following current and expected data traffic trends.

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