I have written about wireless telephony for many years now, and this claim of spectrum's inherent value and scarcity is a con. It takes billions of dollars of investment to make spectrum valuable, to produce a service with a nationwide footprint. This is over and above the cost of buying the spectrum from the government. It's supposed to be public property, not private.
Meanwhile, a WiFi system just requires radios that transmit on the licensed frequencies. Current standards let you create a 100 Mbps network in the comfort of your own home for about $60. That's 10 times the bandwidth commonly available 10 years ago.
Also, innovation continues inside WiFi. This week Sonos delivered new speakers that integrate with all your music sources through WiFi, notes TheVerge.
There are many things equipment makers have done over these 10 years to make this happen. They have improved encoding technologies. They have gotten more spectrum, in higher frequency bands, and combined the bands for use by their equipment. Lower-power radios mean smaller cells and more re-use. It's much more efficient to make these improvements from the network edge than at its center. That's another way of saying it's a lot cheaper to buy a new WiFi router than upgrade a nationwide network.This is a truth of the market; it's science and economics. Ergen is threatening to make this plain to everyone unless someone lets him in on the oligopoly, unless he's given a seat at the table. Google, Microsoft and the makers of WiFi routers all plan to point this out as the FCC proposal moves forward. But you already know. At the time of publication the author had a position in MSFT and GOOG. Follow @DanaBlankenhorn This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV