Reallocating spectrum for mobile is a top technology and economic priority for women entrepreneurs in mobile. By Diane Smith (Founder & Executive Director, The New Rural)
As a technology entrepreneur and a busy working mom, my mobile phone is always within arm’s reach to help me manage virtually every part of my life. Not only does mobile connectivity keep me professionally engaged while on the run, it allows me to stay connected to my daughter, a college freshman.
A recent study found that nearly 60% of women report that we check our phones at least hourly and a majority of Americans check their mobile devices while still in bed. Every morning as I head out the door, I engage in the universal "pat down" to ensure my trusted mobile phone and tablet made it into my purse. I have doubled back to my home more times than I care to admit to retrieve the mobile lifeline that connects me to my family and colleagues.
Today, wireless connectivity is vital to effectively conducting business and managing our lives. For me, personally, mobile technology allowed me to start my business from a local coffee shop in Northwest Montana. Using my cell phone and a Wi-Fi connection, I raised the money and capital to launch one of the largest independent digital media services company in North America. Mobile technology has been my passport to business success and helped make sure I never lost balance between my work and family.
The fact is, women win with mobile connectivity. Wireless technology allows me to compete on the global stage, no matter where I live. Networks make it possible for 99% of Americans to live in counties with wireless service, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Even with that kind of market penetration, carriers across the country recognize the power of mobile and are investing to deploy better service, spending more than $20 billion last year in network infrastructure. No technology has come so far, so fast, as mobile connectivity.
There are, however, challenges that may hamper wireless growth and innovation. Increasing demand for wireless connectivity is stressing the networks and spectrum, the airwaves that fuel our wireless devices, could be maxed out as early as next year says the FCC.
So, given our nation’s increasing reliance on wireless devices, it is absolutely essential we get more spectrum into the mobile pipelines to connect the more than 330 million U.S. wireless subscriptions. And we can’t wait; not when a rapidly growing number of businesses and families rely on wireless connectivity to navigate daily life.
As consumers increasingly “trade up” for more advanced, leading edge devices that boast features promising faster speeds and downloads, wireless demand increases. Today’s smartphones, for example, generate 35 times more mobile data traffic than basic feature phones. That tablet in your hand? It burns through 121 times more wireless capacity than your smartphone.
Policymakers have made some important strides along the path toward addressing the spectrum crunch. The FCC has outlined guidelines for the implementation of voluntary incentive auctions with broadcasters. And industry leaders are working with government officials to examine how more efficient spectrum use by government agencies can translate into benefits for millions of American wireless users and the nation’s economy.
As we move to next generation communications networks and technologies, we must maintain clear policies that encourage continued investment and innovation in advanced networks and make reallocating spectrum for mobile a top technology and economic priority. Millions of entrepreneurial women are counting on it.
Women 2.0 readers: Any mobile or wireless entrepreneurs out there? Let us know what you're working on in the comments.
Photo credit: Dave Lawler on Flickr. About the guest blogger: Diane Smith is the Founder and Executive Director of The New Rural. She is an advisory board member of Mobile Future. Previously, she was the co-founder and CEO of a ground-breaking IPTV company in Northwest Montana that successfully raised millions in startup capital and continues to grow as the nation’s largest global provider of digital video services. Diane often advises startups on their strategies for early stage sustainability and profitability.