This paper addresses the long standing spectrum policy question surrounding how much of the future of wireless innovation will depend on exclusively-licensed spectrum, allocated by auction and traded in secondary markets, relative to how much will utilize bands in which open (unlicensed, dynamic frequency sharing, license-by-rule etc.) wireless systems are permitted. I review evidence from eight wireless markets: mobile broadband; wireless healthcare; smart grid communications; inventory management; access control; mobile payments; fleet management; and secondary markets in spectrum. I find that markets are adopting open wireless strategies in mission-critical applications, in many cases more so than they are building on licensed strategies. Eighty percent of wireless healthcare; seventy percent of smart grid communications; and forty to ninety percent of mobile broadband data to smartphones and tablets use open wireless strategies.
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