Until the 1990s, almost all spectrum licenses were given away practically for free—even the first mobile licenses which laid the foundation for multi-billion dollar companies that dominate stock markets around the world. In the past fifteen years, there has been a concerted attempt to liberalise the sector and make it more open to market forces. This book examines this attempt.
Exploring the new frontier for spectrum policy, Understanding Spectrum Liberalisation identifies the successes and failures of the main policy initiatives of the past decade. It explains, in layman’s terms, the technical and policy background needed to understand these debates.
For those already working in the field, the book provides a lively analysis of recent policy initiatives along with an authoritative interpretation of the latest developments in spectrum policy. It examines individual liberalisation initiatives in detail and explains the logic behind moves towards spectrum sharing, which is seen as the next policy phase.
This book will help non-specialists climb the formidable learning curve quickly. It is ideal for those who have just become involved in the spectrum field, whether in industry, government, or as a regulator, as well as those with expertise in one area of spectrum management who want to learn more about the other areas.
History is about the concerns of the present, so the saying goes, and the authors hope that their interpretation of the very recent past will stimulate debate about future policy and help you make substantive contributions to ongoing policy debates.
SETTING THE SCENE
Putting Theory into Practice
The Promise of Liberalisation
History of Spectrum Policy
A Spectrum Engineering Primer
LIBERALISATION IN ACTION
Spectrum Auctions Become the Default Assignment Mechanism
Problems with Beauty Contests
The Liberalised Licensing Debate
Defining Spectrum Use
Licensing Based on Reception Not Transmission
Public Sector Spectrum
Uses of Public Sector Spectrum
Theory of Administered Incentive Pricing
Intricacies of Setting Prices
Countries That Have Implemented AIP
Liberalisation and the Development of the TV Market
The Long-Term Future of Terrestrial TV
How the Satellite Industry Uses Spectrum
Ultra Wide Band
Principles of an Underlay Network
Wi-Fi and the Spectrum Commons
An Incredible Success Story
The Triumph of the Commons
The Economics of Unlicensed
A Danger of Congestion?
Could a Mobile Carrier Rely on Wi-Fi?
The Whitespace Concept
What are Whitespaces?
THE LIMITS OF LIBERALISATION
Introduction to Part III
The Capacity Crunch
Predicting the Need for More Mobile Spectrum
Why Is Liberalisation Limited in Its Application?
No Faith in Our Creation
Obstacles for the Development of Spectrum Markets
A Wider View
Why Does Trading Have Such Patchy Success?
Concentration and National Licences
Technologies in Decline
Achievements of Spectrum Trading
Mobile Networks: From Sharing to Wholesale
Why Share Mobile Infrastructure?
Pros and Cons
Impact on Spectrum Liberalisation
The Role of Politics in Spectrum Liberalisation
The Work of the International Telecommunications Union
Spectrum and National Politics
Spectrum and Regional Politics
Criticisms of Auctions
Do Spectrum Auctions Discourage Investment?
Do Auctions Hinder Competition?
The Problems with Complex Auctions
Drawing Together the Strands
THE NEW AGENDA
Introduction to Part IV Finding the Right Metaphor
A Mixture of Tools
Licensed Shared Access
Availability of IMT Spectrum
How Does Licensed Shared Access Work?
The Appeal of LSA
LSA in Practice
Cognitive Radio and Database-Driven Spectrum Management
Ending Before It Has Begun?
Transmitting Beyond the Radio Spectrum
Trends in the Broadcasting Market
The End Game
Appendix: What Does the ITU Do and How Does It Work?