The president's new government spending plan could make your cell phone more expensive to use in the next few years.
President Obama is proposing a hike in spectrum license fees over the next two years as part of his plan to cut the budget deficit in half by 2013 . According to Cnet's reading of the administration's just announced budget proposals, license fees are set to quadruple to $200 million next year, from $50 million this year.
But that's not the end of it. The report adds that the fees will gradually increase over the next 10 years to $550 million per spectrum user per year. That will supposedly generate an estimated $4.8 billion for the government over the next decade.
The budget also projects a paltry $1.4 billion in receipts from future spectrum auctions over the same period, reflecting the reality of the dwindling supply of remaining airwaves left to be sold" according to
These proposed fees are new taxes. They are in addition to those hefty license fees that operators have already paid the federal government as part of winning the wireless auctions for the right to use those frequencies.
As you might imagine, the newly proposed taxes are likely to be opposed by the country's mobile operators, although none of the big four mobile firms --
-- have yet to comment on the proposals.
By the way, these increasing fees will barely scratch the surface of the grand total needed to cut the federal budget deficit in half. On the other hand, if and when our national cellular carriers have to pay more for the right to bring us improved cellular services, then every cell-phone user will be paying more to use these services.
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.