Dynamic spectrum sharing is gaining momentum in five ways, says the leader of a consortium pushing for the policy changes.
Third, the Ghana summit demonstrated that dynamic spectrum and shared spectrum are not only about TV white spaces. Presenters talked about dynamic spectrum approaches to GSM spectrum, otherwise known as GSM white spaces.
Yes, the DSA is even considering the possibility that today's exclusive mobile spectrum will be shared in the future. I know this is anathema to some in the mobile industry, but sharing of spectrum should (and will) be the norm in the 2020s, rather than the rare exception it is today. This is the principal reason why I, a former senior spectrum regulator, chose to lead the DSA.
Fourth, several countries have announced dates when they will allow spectrum sharing in key bands. US regulators made their move in TVWS in December. Singapore just announced that 180 MHz of prime TV spectrum will be made available. Finland, Canada, Malawi, and South Africa are not far behind. Recently, Ofcom in the UK confirmed its intention to release more of the 5 GHz band for license-exempt use, find sub-GHz spectrum that can be shared for the Internet of Things, and find other bands for TVWS access, as Singapore has just done.
Fifth, the urgency and bandwagon around connecting the next 5 billion people is gathering momentum. It is already late. It also is fair and makes business sense to be inclusive.
All this said, spectrum sharing is not without its detractors, including key organizations and international institutions in our sector. The DSA supports and admires much of what these organizations have achieved and still continue to do, and it advises them not to become modern-day dinosaurs.
As the Chinese proverb says, those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way and not interrupt those doing it.
-- Prof. H. Nwana is executive director of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance. He was group director for spectrum policy for four years at Ofcom, the UK communications regulator.