American telecoms 美国电信 A breath of fresh airwavesyou want 呼吸新鲜的电波 The scramble for spectrum could reshape America’s telecoms industry 频谱争夺战可能打开美国电信新局面 JULIUS GENACHOWSKI, the head of America’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has called wireless spectrum the oxygen that sustains our mobile devices. Yet unlike oxygen, the airwaves over which telecoms companies transmit their wireless signals are in ever shorter supply. According to the FCC’s calculations, America needs to make 300 megahertz (MHz) of additional spectrum available by 2014 to avoid a crunch that drives up consumers’ mobile-phone bills and holds back innovation. 美联邦通讯委员会（FCC）主席JULIUS GENACHOWSKI，将无线通讯频段称为维持移动通讯设备工作的氧气，但与氧气不同的是，如今电信公司用来传输无线讯号的波段比以往更加短缺。据委员会估计，为免移动电话用户账单攀升，创新停滞不前，引发频谱危机，到2014年美国需要新增300兆赫兹频段投入使用。
Some critics reckon the regulator’s projections are too pessimistic. But telecoms firms say an explosion of wireless data triggered by smartphones and tablet computers is indeed soaking up capacity fast. Hence the scramble for more airwaves. On December 2nd Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile operator, announced a $3.6 billion deal to buy spectrum from several cable-television companies. AT&T, another telecoms behemoth, has been telling anyone who will listen that its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA, a smaller rival, should be approved in part because it would ease a capacity headache: AT&T has plenty of capital but needs more spectrum, while T-Mobile has the airwaves but lacks the capital to exploit them fully.
有的评论家认为委员会的预测太过悲观，但电信公司指出，由智能机和平板电脑所引发的无线通讯数据的激增，实际上正快速占据频带容量，面向更多频段的争夺进而产生。12月2日，美国最大的移动通讯运营商威瑞森无线通讯公司（Verizon Wireless）宣布斥资36亿美金从几家有线电视公司手中收购波段。另一家电信巨头AT&T也正试图让每一个关心的人相信，它对T-Mobile USA这个小公司的价值390亿的收购企划应得以通过，部分原因是如此可缓和波段紧缺的困难：AT&T有足够的资金但需要更大的带宽，然而T-Mobile 有带宽却缺少充分开发利用的资金。
The snag is that allowing AT&T and T-Mobile to merge would stifle competition in the wireless market—which is why both the Department of Justice and the FCC oppose it. AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s German parent, have pledged to fight on, but the merger’s chances are slim. Verizon’s deal, by contrast, will probably be cleared by the FCC, which must approve transfers of licensed spectrum.
问题在于，若允许AT&T 和T-Mobile合并，就会破坏无线市场的竞争公平——这就是为什么司法部和联邦通讯委员会都反对它们合并。AT&T 和 T-Mobile 的母公司德国电信（Deutsche Telekom）已承诺会继续争取，但合并的希望渺茫。相反，委员会却极有可能会同意Verizon的交易，因为它没有权力阻止已得到使用许可的波段的易主。
Could more wireless capacity be liberated from other businesses that do not need it? The FCC thinks so. It has come up with a proposal to persuade TV companies to part with some of their airwaves. It would solicit spectrum from broadcasters and then repackage it into larger lots to be sold in an auction. The revenue raised would be shared between the government and the broadcasters. The FCC thinks this could release up to 120MHz of TV broadcast spectrum.