We are living under a faulty set of assumptions about spectrum. Licensing may have been the only viable approach in the 1920s, but it certainly isnt in the first years of the 21st century. We take it for granted that companies must pay for exclusive rights to spectrum, and that once they do, they must invest in significant infrastructure buildout to deliver services. We also take for granted a pervasive level of regulation on how spectrum is used, which would be intolerable for any other medium so connected to speech. We assume that market forces, if introduced into the wireless world at all, must be applied to choices among monopolists rather than free competition. We make these assumptions because we cant imagine the world being otherwise.
Open spectrum technologies forces us to rethink all of our assumptions about wireless communication. By making more efficient use of the spectrum we have, it can effectively remove the capacity constraints that limit current wireless voice and data services. By opening up space for innovation, it could lead to the development of new applications and services. It could provide an alternative pipe into the home for broadband connectivity. And it could allow many more speakers access to the public resource of the airwaves.
Using technologies like WiFi is critical for emerging markets to leapfrog and create a high-speed wireless data infrastructure. Kevin has an extensive discussion on WiFi and its applications.