In Business Model, Internet Access, Mobile, Spectrum

The frequency equivalent of a “squatter’s rights” (“adverse possession”) battle might soon develop in the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band, with ecosystems possibly racing to promote their own use before other users jump on and congest the band.

The issue might develop because mobile service providers are developing protocols to use 5-GHz Wi-Fi spectrum in conjunction with licensed Long Term Evolution, while other ecosystems will try to build their own services in the band.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a standards body developing mobile standards. Among other projects, it is working on license assisted access, a way to augment LTE in Wi-Fi spectrum using “Carrier Aggregation,” the way to bond different frequencies.

The emerging issue is how to assure that traditional Wi-Fi users have reasonable access to 5-GHz Wi-Fi capacity when mobile operators also will be contending for access.

Perhaps not too unsurprisingly, cable TV operators and mobile service providers in the United States tend to have different views.

Whatever protocols eventually are developed to assure fair access, whichever ecosystem gets commercial operations at scale might have a stronger regulatory argument.

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