The Ever Crowding Airwaves

A Cisco Systems report predicts that mobile data traffic will grow 110 percent this year, and at a compound annual growth rate of 78 percent through 2016. “By 2016, 60 percent of mobile users — 3 billion people worldwide — will belong to the ‘Gigabyte Club’ — each generating more than 1 gigabyte of mobile data traffic per month,” Cisco Systems Vice President Suraj Shetty said. As if to back up Cisco’s prediction, Gartner reported that Smartphone sales grew a whopping 47 percent in the 4th quarter of 2011. It seems unlikely that cellular service providers, who are already complaining about “data hogs” and overuse of their data networks, will be able to cope with demand doubling every year. Fortunately, there is a bill making its way to President Obama’s desk that will allow wide swaths of the wireless spectrum, previously used for broadcast TV, to be auctioned off to cellular companies. The President is expected to sign the legislation. The availability of more spectrums will help, but will it be enough?

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