In the wake of the terrorist attacks, the wireless industry stands little chance of gaining control of airwaves now held by the Department of Defense, experts said.
“Game over,” said Rudy Baca, The Precursor Groups wireless and global analyst. “At this point, the arguments the DOD traditionally used have even more credence.”
While wireless carriers have pushed to take over some DOD spectrum for next-generation services such as high-speed data, the Pentagon has argued that could pose dangers. National security arguments now have far more credence than they did before Sept. 11, experts said.
With the hefty spectrum held by the Pentagon apparently out of the mix, the Federal Communications Commission could remove the spectrum cap that limits how much companies can own. That would likely lead to consolidation, with regional operators targeted by national carriers.
In addition, without the DOD spectrum, Baca believes its likely that NextWave Telecom will settle with the FCC, rather than try to build its own network. “They risk looking unpatriotic” if they decide to build, rather than allow entrenched operators to use the valuable airwaves, he said.