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CTIA Stresses More Spectrum as FCC Changes Leadership

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 10:42am
Andrew Berg

CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent says he doesn't care who succeeds FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski so long as the next appointee continues to push for more spectrum. 

"Our goals and objectives for this year haven't changed that much. We're still trying to get more spectrum," Largent said, speaking at an annual breakfast for media, where the association answers questions on spectrum and regulatory matters. 

Largent panned talk that the wireless industry is overplaying the need for more spectrum. 

"There are some people out there that you talk to who say that the wireless industry doesn't really need more spectrum...There's not a whole lot of credibility to that. Our companies would not be spending billions on more spectrum just for fun...it's a laughable argument," Largent said. 

Largent stressed the need for the FCC, as well as the President, to pressure government agencies like the Department of Defense, to clear unused spectrum for commercial use. 

"It's really hard to pry this spectrum out of their hands...It's incumbent on the president and the FCC to pressure them to give up some of this spectrum," Largent said. 

Chris Guttman-McCabe, CTIA's vice president of regulatory affairs, made it clear that spectrum sharing is not the end goal, noting that the report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which recommended sharing airwaves a matter of policy did not have adequate input from the wireless industry. 

 "There were no infrastructure vendors, no handset vendors at the time and no carriers," Guttman-McCabe said of PCAST. "We believe here, there needs to be a focus on clearing...as a fallback, we are perfectly comfortable investigating sharing...but with the goal of eventually clearing that spectrum." 

The discussion also touched on whether CTIA thought that the FCC's recent return to the matter of cell phone safety and the effects of radiation from handsets added uncertainty to the market. 

Largent noted that the FCC hasn't issued any statement on RF since 1996, saying that it was probably was a good thing for them to go back and review the most recent information in the interest public safety.

Largent also took time to comment on the fracas over CTIA's planned dates for its 2014 wireless conference, which overlapped with dates set for the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA). 

"There was no animosity intended. We worked through that and it turned out to be a win-win situation," Largent said.

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