Spectrum is a word that’s been tossed around a lot these past few months, but what exactly is it and why should you, as a tower professional, care? Marguerite Reardon of CNET explains exactly how spectrum works, “Wireless operators, such as AT&T and Verizon, cannot transmit wireless signals over the same frequencies in the same markets at the same time. The Federal Communications Commission is the government agency that keeps track of who’s using which slivers of spectrum. The agency grants companies licenses to use the spectrum. In the mobile phone market, the FCC has auctioned off spectrum, generating billions of dollars in revenue for the government.” The FCC has designated the area between 700 MHz and 2.6 GHz to be used by mobile networks. As companies buy up more spectrum, they will need to add equipment to towers or construct new towers for their network. “Spectrum is the lifeblood of the industry. And as more consumers buy smartphones, which according to the FCC, use 24 times more data than a traditional cell phone, and tablets, which can consume 122 times more data than old traditional phones, there is a greater need for spectrum,” Reardon explains. As the FCC reallocates spectrum and mobile networks acquire it, they will continue to expand their networks throughout the country.