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Get Ready — Your Smartphone May Soon Work Even Slower — Dollars and Sense

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Daniel Barry, Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says wireless resources are not infinite.

In fact, the smartphones to which we’re all so addicted are gobbling so much bandwidth that as early as next year, we could be paying more for our service — not to mention seeing slower data speeds and an increase in dropped calls.

The FCC calls the issue “spectrum crunch” and officials there are worried it could be a very real problem, with one saying, “Network traffic is increasing … [Carriers] can manage it for the next couple years, but demand is inevitably going to exceed the available spectrum.”

Rory Altman, director of technology consultancy Altman Vilandrie & Co., added, “We got into this principally because technology and demand exploded at a rate that nobody had anticipated.”

The current wireless spectrum is distributed among companies and entities unevenly, with some having more than they need and others having too little. In early March, Congress is expected to vote on an FCC plan to hold incentive auctions that would help balance things out, something FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says would not only help to free up spectrum resources but would also greatly benefit the US Treasury.

[CNN Money]

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