More i-phones slower networks; why Asian regulators need to prioritize spectrum refarming

Posted on January 28, 2010  /  3 Comments

The applications are developed, the hardware is ready. Who is not ready are the spectrum managers/regulators of Asia, who have barely started on refarming. Already some of Sri Lanka’s mobile data users are complaining that they cannot connect. The operators need to pay attention and so do spectrum managers.

America’s advanced cellphone network is already beginning to be bogged down by smartphones that double as computers, navigation devices and e-book readers. Cellphones are increasingly being used as TVs, which hog even more bandwidth. They can also transmit video, allowing for videoconferencing on cellphones.

And a new generation of netbooks, tablet PCs and other mobile devices that connect to cellphone networks will only add to the strain. “Carrier networks aren’t set to handle five million tablets sucking down 5 gigabytes of data each month,” Philip Cusick, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, said.

Wireless carriers have drastically underestimated the network demand by consumers, which has been driven largely by the iPhone and its applications, he said. “It’s only going to get worse as streaming video gets more prevalent.”


  1. Asian regulators work in an institutional milieu that is prone to slow decision making process as the vested interests to appease are many.
    The latest, the Indian 3G auction postponed to August 2010, the time when defence will release spectrum.
    What a shame!

  2. Spectrum is the only intangible yet increasingly premium natural resource that never depletes. It is also available anywhere in the world with unaffected quality. Yet the state of wireless services across various economies significantly differs due to the variation of regulatory engagement.

    Asian regulators and governments have found quite an easy way of formal and informal earnings through leasing out spectrum since mid 90s. The worst regulatory perversion was witnessed thereafter through auctioning the 3G spectrum in the western hemisphere. We know the consequences.

    Since then the Asian regulators remain addicted to making the exchequer “rich” through spectrum auctions. Academics calling it “a scarce resource” have worsened the crisis. Look at India and Bangladesh.

    The Asian economists have never bothered to link spectrum with economic development. Telecommunication, especially the spectrum, is very wrongly being perceived as the exclusive topic for the engineers. That’s why most of the regulatory outfits employ only the engineers for spectrum management. The operators follow suit. There is nobody to reveal the economic benefits of spectrum refarming.