spectrum-lines

We are running out of space on our wireless networks. As a result, mobile providers are trying to slow usage down by incorporating new pricing models and doing away with unlimited plans.

Last summer Verizon and AT&T stopped offering unlimited plans to new customers. The reason. Possibly mobile providers were starting to prepare for a future “Spectrum Crunch”. The wireless spectrum (infrastructure used to transmit wireless data) is being heavily utilized as more people are purchasing smart phones and using wireless networks to access data.

DailyFinance explains in this article why “unlimited” cellphone data plans are not really unlimited.

With the rise of social networking sites and the ability to easily upload personal videos, video viewing and consumption has increased significantly. Unlike regular text messages, video data is not small and takes a lot more bandwidth to move across a wireless network. To help curtail large bandwidth usage, mobile providers are setting ceilings on data usage and have also instituted throttling of bandwidth for users that exceed certain data thresholds.

USA Today discusses AT&T’s changes in their policy for heavy data users in this article.

Is the “Spectrum Crunch” going to occur anytime soon?In comScore’s recent 2012 Mobile Future in Focus report “Nearly 42 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with 44.0 percent of mobile users across the EU5 (comprised of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). ”

Read this press release from comScore about their release of the “2012 Mobile Future In Focus” Report.

This increase in mobile users is big business but as the growing number of smartphones increases, consumers will start to see slow downs in accessing data and video. CNN Money did a week long series on cell phone usage and how availability in the airwaves in the U.S. is running out. As data use over mobile networks increases, the available bandwidth decreases and will eventually cause slow downs in communication. The culprit is the growing use of smartphones to access social sharing sites like facebook and viewing of video.

CNN Money wrote an article about America’s high usage of wireless airwaves and the growth leading to a spectrum deficit.

In the fourth article of the week long CNN Money series, there is some hope to the spectrum crunch that providers have that includes reusing the existing spectrum, adding more spectrum or getting people off the wireless network. Click here to read the article.

None of these solutions address the core problem which is the increase consumption of video and the large size of the video data being delivered. As video has moved from standard definition to high definition and soon 3D and ultra HD, the amount of data passing through wireless networks will increase exponentially. Moving data off of wireless networks to WiFi only moves the problem to a different platform. As the amount of airwaves available is finite, acquiring and reusing airwaves are only short term solutions. Creating a new way to store and segment video data will be the only hope in keeping up with consumer demand for video. EuclidI Discoveries is dedicated to attacking this bandwidth utilization issue. The company has created a “next generation” video compression technology that utilizes higher level modeling and model re-use.

What are your thoughts?

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