Mobile phone service providers are battling out to acquire more low-frequency spectrum to handle demand from voice and data customers. Isaac Newton introduced the spectrum into the world in the 17th century and it refers to a range of colors it displays when white light travel through. Power as a function of frequency or wavelengths also belongs to the spectrum. Today the word also covers sound waves and any signal that can be measured. For mobile service providers, spectrum is expensive and availability is limited. The government retained the ownership of the spectrum and makes it available to providers through auctions and it is expected to take place within next few years.
In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) holds auctions since 1994 for licenses of spectrum to transmit signals over specific bands. Due to the scarcity, the government is asking television providers to sell back their excess capacity so the government can accommodate requests from new services for spectrum. To date more than 87 auctions have been conducted by the FCC generating over $60 billion. Auctions are conducted over the Internet and anyone can apply for a license provided that they participate in the auction following set procedures.