In a presentation from IT Conversations – Moray Rumney makes the case that while promising 4G is yet to and may never deliver a true mobile broadband experience (at least at 2011 wired standards).
With the will to build enough backhaul and install enough points of presence, it is possible for the wireless carriers to deliver high services levels from a few narrow channels. That sort of deployment is in direct conflict with the old cell tower model that the industry is married to. While there are other less transparent benefits to allocating more spectrum the carriers, this is one reason why we keep hearing the call for more spectrum.
I have another solution that could solve the problem almost immediately. It involves a shift from walled gardens to a commons. Any new spectrum would go to that commons and old allocated bands should join the commons as services like CDMA and GSM are discontinued. After establishing the commons, all carriers would be free to use it on a low power, spread spectrum basis just like WiFi. Yes, there would be a very ugly transition, and the POP density would need to grow dramaticly. Offering anyone who would base a POP on their property a free broadband connection could easily solve that problem.
The first nation to adopt the commons model will soon lead the world in wireless. Without the overhead of leasing spectrum and tower sites, carriers could offer lower prices while enjoying higher margins. The FCC wouldn’t need the income from spectrum auctions to support a bloated bureaucracy – it could be dissolved. Everyone wins., but convincing the powers that be to look at a new model is a very difficult task.