CTIA Wireless 2012
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Thank you, Steve. Good afternoon everyone.
A lot has happened in our industry since we were all here together in New Orleans in 2005.
Back then, there were no “smartphones” and no “tablets.” Phones were used primarily for voice calls; those on the cutting edge used text messages.
Today, digital technologies have fundamentally and dramatically changed our world.
Things that just a short time ago seemed to be out of a science fiction movie – video chats, wireless public safety notifications, viewing live public events on a wireless device – are all now so commonplace that we almost take them for granted.
All of these developments depend on networks that the wireless industry has built. Collectively, we’ve invested hundreds of billions of dollars in these networks – networks that have launched countless new products and services and have created new markets, new jobs, and even new industries.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the wireless industry has been one of the country’s greatest engines for economic growth.
Unfortunately, this innovation and economic growth that has been the hallmark of our industry is at risk today due to the spectrum shortage we face. There’s no disputing the fact that there is a looming “spectrum crunch.”
Greater use of smartphones, tablets and other data devices, together with a steadily growing appetite for wireless data in all forms is accelerating the need for more spectrum.
The FCC estimates that the industry demand for mobile data by 2015 will be 25-50 times greater than it was in 2010. The FCC also predicts that if additional spectrum is not made available in the near-term, mobile data demand will likely exceed capacity by 2014.
That is certainly the experience at Verizon Wireless. Data usage on our network has more than doubled in each of the last three years. And on our new 4G LTE network, after just six months, data usage was at levels that were not reached for years on our 3G network.
Verizon Wireless has the largest 4G LTE network in the United States, covering more than two-thirds of the population and 230 markets. By the end of the year, we’ll reach 400 markets. Other carriers are also deploying 4G LTE.
As an industry, we’re working with partners to develop and deliver devices, applications and solutions that will change people’s lives for the better. I would like to show you a brief video that brings to life some of the innovative 4G LTE solutions that show how empowering this technology can be.
Clearly, for the wireless industry to continue our history of innovation and in order for us to deliver the benefits of advanced technology to consumers, we need additional spectrum to reach the marketplace soon.
I agree with Chairman Genachowski’s recent statement that “failure to meet this growing demand for spectrum could stifle the vast opportunities of mobile broadband. Opportunities not only for improved education, health care and public safety, but opportunities for our entire economy and our global competitiveness.”
As an industry, I think we need to applaud Congress and the administration for freeing up more spectrum through the legislation that was recently signed into law by the President. However, it will be some years before that spectrum can be ready for use.
Since Verizon Wireless will need additional spectrum in some markets by 2013, and in many more markets by 2015, we cannot wait years for spectrum to become available.
To manage the coming “spectrum crunch,” we’ve deployed new hardware and new software technologies that make more efficient use of spectrum. And, we’ve reached into the secondary market both to buy and sell spectrum.
We’re seeking approval to purchase AWS spectrum from four cable companies – you’re familiar with this. That spectrum, which is not in use today, will be put to work by Verizon Wireless to expand capacity on our 4G LTE network.
We’re working closely with the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission as they review our AWS spectrum purchase. We’re confident the regulators will understand that this purchase is good for Verizon Wireless customers and the entire mobile broadband economy. We look forward to a decision by mid-summer.
We also recently announced an open, public sale of spectrum we currently own in the 700 A and B blocks.
In light of our pending AWS purchase, we no longer have the same immediate need for this A and B spectrum. That’s why our sale is contingent on our successful acquisition of the AWS assets.
Our decision to sell the A and B block licenses clearly indicates that we’re not interested in “warehousing” spectrum. And, for the record, no one is forcing us to sell those licenses. We’re making the A and B block licenses available to others because it’s the right thing to do for our company and for our industry.
We believe both these initiatives demonstrate we’re responsible stewards of these high-value, but extremely costly, assets. These initiatives are signs of a healthy secondary spectrum market – a market that is sorely needed, given the looming “spectrum crunch.”
If the wireless industry is going to continue to be a key engine for economic growth, if mobile data is to continue to unlock profound benefits for consumers, we need to avoid the “spectrum crunch” and get unused spectrum in the hands of those who can use it to generate further innovation.
More spectrum means more innovation in health care, more spectrum means improvements in public safety, and more spectrum means greater educational opportunities for all Americans.
And, more spectrum means that we can ensure that America leads the world in broadband infrastructure and innovation, and that the wireless industry continues to serve as a vibrant growth engine for America.
Thank you for your attention. Enjoy the show.