It is easy to miss the profound implications of millimeter wave spectrum, even as new ways are found to increase the amount of low-band and mid-band spectrum usable by mobile operators and Wi-Fi networks.
In this illustration, the narrow slivers to the left represent licensed U.S. and international mobile spectrum in the low-band and mid-band regions (600 MHz up to, and including 3.5 GHz).
The orange bands represent new spectrum the Federal Communications Commission plans to release.
The red and green bands show spectrum already used by other licensed users. The blue regions starting at about 24 GHz represent potential mobile and Wi-Fi spectrum that is expected to be made available by the FCC.
It is fairly easy to visualize the impact millimeter wave could have on capacity: physical spectrum for Wi-Fi or mobile grows by more than an order of magnitude. Effective bandwidth will grow as much as two orders of magnitude, taking into account small cells, spectrum aggregation, spectrum sharing and other platform enhancements.
For the first time, wireless and mobile networks will have enough capacity, and cost per bit metrics, to function as a substitute for traditional fixed networks in a growing number of use cases.