Motorola's Galvin: Market needs more spectrum

Not only is there not enough of the radio spectrum available for the wireless telecommunication market in the US, but the funds spent in the auctioning of that spectrum probably won't get invested in the technology, Motorola Inc.'s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chris Galvin said Wednesday.

"When new technologies are created, the rules and regulations need to be modified," Galvin said in a speech here at the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association) Wireless 2001 show. "Today we have the need for significantly higher amounts of spectrum."

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction for cellular telephone frequencies (radio spectrum) in 195 US markets brought in US$16.9 billion for the government when it ended earlier this year. However, the amount of spectrum divided up is still not enough, Galvin said. "To accommodate all the technology in the future, we are going to need huge amounts of new spectrum," he said. "Also, there's the fact that the winning companies don't even own that spectrum because they're not allowed to resell it," he said.

In order to promote growth in the industry, the FCC should re-work the auction fee schedule for the winning bidders, Galvin said. "We need a lot more spectrum, and we need to make sure that we find a way to maximize the incentive for investment in these new technologies."

Galvin compared the wireless spectrum to the railroads during the move westward in the US. "Imagine, it's like Chicago is where society stopped, except this time the government has bought all the land west of it" by not releasing more of the spectrum, he said.

"What we need right now is a plan, we need to look to the long term of the industry," he said. "We think the industry has just begun, and right now we're dealing with the fact that we've adopted some rules, but rewriting those rules could create an even greater industry."

Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Illinois, can be reached at +1-847-576-5000 or via the Internet at http://www.mot.com/.

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