Hub could feel smartphone use ‘crunch’

An unexpected surge of smart phone and tablet useage is starting to strain the capacity of the mobile broadband airwaves and it could affect how fast you download apps, send e-mails and make phone calls.

“It means potentially dropped calls and slower speeds,” said Rory Altman, director and founder of Boston-based Altman Vilandrie & Co., a management-consulting group focusing on communications, media, and clean tech.

Altman said if more “spectrum” doesn’t become available to carriers, and customers continue to gobble up data at growing rates, apps and mobile web pages would slow down due to the congestion.

“The wireless industry has experienced tremendous data demand…much more than anticipated,” he said.

Known as “spectrum crunch,” officials from the Federal Communications Commission said while growth of wireless broadband represents a significant economic opportunity—it also presents a challenge.

“Demand for…service is likely to outstrip spectrum capacity in the near-term,” according to the FCC’s website.  “Without action to address this spectrum crunch, service quality is likely to suffer and prices are likely to rise.”

The constant demand from customers has carriers working to correct the situation.

“[They] want to avoid those impacts since that causes customers to get frustrated and switch providers,” said Altman.

Avoiding the crunch
-Altman said the emergence of 4G LTE data networks will off-set some of the congestion.
-Unused and underused spectrum held by companies and governmental departments will be tapped, alleviating immediate the crunch.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear


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