October 2, 2009

Fostering Innovation and Investment in the Wireless Communications Market

  • Jerry Brito

    Former Senior Research Fellow
  • Jerry Ellig

    Research Professor, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
Key materials
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In the Notice, the commission seeks specific data on technology, investment, and innovation in the wireless market. Market participants and other parties are better suited to provide this information. However, the commission also "seek[s] to understand better the factors that encourage innovation and investment in wireless[.]" In this we would like to offer the commission some broad concepts about what drives innovation and how it could help facilitate that innovation. We offer the following suggestions:

• To the greatest extent possible, license spectrum for flexible use. To increase access to spectrum, the commission should consider reallocating as much spectrum as possible to flexible use. In this way, licensees will be given an incentive to make more efficient and better use of their spectrum.

• To the greatest extent possible, make spectrum licenses tradable. Just as important as the initial assignment of spectrum, creating the conditions that allow secondary markets in spectrum to emerge are vital to fostering innovation. Given that so much of the most desirable spectrum is already licensed, the best way to ensure that innovators have access to spectrum is to make all licenses easily tradable.

• Closed proprietary mobile platforms do not pose a threat to innovation. Closed and open platforms will innovate in different ways and will make offerings that appeal to different parts of the market. Competition might not guarantee that all platforms are open if a sufficiently large segment of consumers is satisfied with a closed (but perhaps lower-cost or higher-quality) platform. But competition will ensure that an open platform is available as long as a sufficient number of consumers want and are willing to pay for it.

Citation (Chicago Style)

Jerry Ellig and Jerry Brito. "Fostering Innovation and Investment in the Wireless Communications Market." Public Interest Comment to the Federal Communication Commissions, GN Docket No. 09-157 (September 30, 2009).