Cell towerIf the "Big Four" telcos -- AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), T-Mobile (DT) and Sprint (S) -- are to be believed, soaring cell phone bills could be in our future -- if their requests aren't met.

According to The New York Times, cell phone providers are using this fear tactic to lobby for greater slices of the radio spectrum (a bundle of radio frequencies controlled by the federal government).

Bandwidth on wireless networks is increasingly strained. Not only is the number of mobile data users rising, but so too is the number of devices they're using.

A growing number of people carry both an smartphone and a tablet, both of which tap into the limited capacity of this bandwidth. Add to that the growing number of data-heavy uses for these mobile devices (such as streaming video) and you can see why these cell phone providers are clamoring for more slices of the spectrum. Likewise why they might suggest that, simply based on the laws of supply and demand, if they don't get more, they'll have to raise rates for what they have.

But is more spectrum really the answer? Martin Cooper, the inventor of the cell phone, doesn't think so.

As he told the Times, "Every time there is a problem of getting more spectrum, there is a technology that comes along that solves that problem."

True, gaining access to more spectrum is the easiest solution for the cell phone providers, but he's convinced more advanced antennas or technology to transfer mobile traffic to WiFi networks "could multiply the number of mobile devices that carriers can serve by at least tenfold."

Since Cooper serves on the technical advisory committee of the FCC (the government organization in charge of divvying up the radio spectrum), his opinion has serious sway.

So Is Your Cell Phone Bill Going to Soar?

Even though the Big Four are threatening this, it's unlikely that your cell phone bill will double -- at least any time soon. (Though the big carriers do also warn of spotty service and slower connections, as well.)

Especially because the only reason why they want this extended spectrum is because it continues to ensure the monopolies they have.

Clearly, this is not a goal the FCC will want to dole out more spectrum to support, which is why Cooper -- along with so many other industry insiders -- is so adamant that these cell phone giants figure out innovative ways to make do with the spectrum they've got.

For investors, this is an interesting development in the wireless industry. It's especially exciting for shareholders of the largest and most profitable wireless tower operator in the United States -- which also boasts an expanding global presence.

Because regardless of which technology cell phone providers adopt, this tower company will continue to cash in as cell phone providers continue to lease a growing number of spots for varying technologies on their towers.

Motley Fool analyst Adam J. Wiederman owns no shares of the companies mentioned above.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Advice for Recent College Grads

Prepare yourself for the "real world".

View Course »

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Wayne Bradshaw

The City Council is examining a request to open a Gucci Outlet Store and retail shop at 11502 Middlebelt in the Livonia Crossroads shopping center on the southeast corner of Plymouth and Middlebelt roads.The council heard at a study session on Monday from Taylor Bond, president of Children's Orchard, who wants to open a 7,500-square-foot Gucci Outlets store at the site of the former Family Buggy restaurant, which was closed several years ago.

May 06 2012 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

my classmate's half-sister made $16406 last week. she is working on the computer and moved in a $376100 house. All she did was get fortunate and put in action the advice revealed on this link http://keyfind.us/0h

April 23 2012 at 7:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Their like all company's. Always crying. It was not long ago the Goverment (you and me ) gave them all kinds of cosideration in the form of $'s. They will bitch forever.


April 22 2012 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm grandfathered in on my plan. If it goes up ten cents, I will seriously drop it and use my mobile hot spot with a wi-fi set for the phone.

April 21 2012 at 7:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And what is the cost for the constant mailers and 45 commercials they put on TV per day? That cost is being paid for by the consumer, it's not from money that falls out of the sky. We are paying for their excessive cramming of the advertising shoved down our throats and they are saying it's the fault of everything but their greed and foolish spending. These companies should be able to compete better than that. Do I really need to watch a movie on a 2 inch screen or text 250 times a day? I know people that always want the lastest and greatest which comes our every 30 days. We as consumers have to quit falling for all the hype. Is it really that important to be able to poast on fb that we got new shoes at the mall while we are stopped at a traffic light or inform people we just left Joe's Burger Palace! Should I be sitting at work looking up the newest fashions on a phone internet access! Do 12 year old girls really need all the programming on a cellphone that was supposed to be created for professionals working out of and away from an office. WE need to stop the madness and the greed from these companies.

April 21 2012 at 7:09 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

If these id iots start playing ego and huff-and-puff games with cell phone costs, I'll terminate my service, pay the early term fee, then start using pre-paid which is cheaper from the get-go. There's no one in the world I need to talk to 24/7 and I don't have mental baggage where I need to stay THAT 'connected'. If I want to talk, there's landline, SKYPE, social media, blogs, webcam, postal mail, face-to-face, email etc. Consumers need to take back control and not allow these character to run our lives.

April 21 2012 at 7:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hey now...

Seriously if we dont really need cell phones dump um that will put a hurting on these greedy SOB's =)

April 21 2012 at 1:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hey now...'s comment

Agreed 10000%.

April 21 2012 at 7:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hey now...

first off where I live Verizon & SPRINT both suck I have dropped calls every call because the huge condo community across the street is blockin my signal and sprint says i need the box and that too does not guarantee service...Oh hell I swear it's a scam So If I need to make an important call I have to drive 2 blk East Annoying and operator says I am sorry for the inconveniece..lol this is more than an inconvenice it has cost more than they can imagine and it's not even worth the price I pay for my present plan sure in hell won't pay a penny more

April 21 2012 at 1:49 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hey now...'s comment

VERIZON is big on that scam and others. They sent me a letter telling me there's 'interference and problems' with signals in my area and that I need to update my service. Right. I wasn't born yesterday.
BTW......VERIZON also sells their landline and cell phone numbers to outside marketing companies. Each time I move I get a ton of marketing calls on my house phone----and I'm unlisted.

April 21 2012 at 7:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My cell phone bill better not go up ONE penny, I'll drop them faster than a hot potatoe. My cell don't work when I'm home, it only works when I drive 6-8 miles down the road. I have been complaining about this for over 4 yrs. I have already told them that this phone contract ISN'T going to be renewd for this reason. They had the nerve to tell me that they SELL a device that I CAN BUY to put in my home so my phone will work..ha..I have to buy it? I think not, when we buy a car do we have to buy the key to start it, or a dress do we have to buy the buttons or zipper so it will stay on us?? I never heard of something so stupid. I paid good money for that cell and every mo I also pay my bill with over 3,000 roll over min because I can't use them. I keep the cell because just incase I break down some where on the road.

April 21 2012 at 12:14 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Trish's comment

It's big-time scams. I won't be renewing my Verizon contract once it's up. Better off with a pre-paid.

April 21 2012 at 7:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Rashed Marshall

Point of information as a former telecommunications sales rep, manager a three major cable companies and former owner of a cell phone and internet store.
1. Cost per customer for all cable companies. A. cable= 15 to 22 dollars B. internet 35 cents per customer C. Home phone service 25 cents per customer. That covers all overhead. So every dime over is profit so the can make 20-50 million more every year.


April 21 2012 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply