A good portion of the business model for AT&T’s new first responder network will come from spectrum sharing.
Spectrum sharing fundamentally is important because it can change the business model for existing and new potential providers of communications services, much as increased availability of unlicensed spectrum likewise allows incumbent and new service providers to create services and revenue streams.
In other words, shared spectrum is important because it changes the value and cost of spectrum rights.
Many would argue that the nationwide first responder network proposed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York have gone nowhere for 15 years because the business model was quite questionable.
That FirstNet now will be built and operated by AT&T suggests that something significant in the business model has changed, as is true for several other access technologies or approaches.
Other forms of spectrum sharing will provide indirect benefits for mobile internet service providers. The ability to aggregate licensed spectrum (4G and 5G) with unlicensed 5-GHz and Wi-Fi spectrum will improve indoor coverage, supply better-quality voice connections and increase capacity, at lower cost than building infrastructure.