Look at the devices of today. Kindles, iPads, Nexus tabs, Windows tablets, all smartphones. If there is one dependency the companies all have today, it is a dependency on the carriers; mainly VZ, T and S. So if I'm an Amazon and want my customers to have a great experience with my device, I know that a WiFi connection is the only thing that gives them peace of mind. Consuming content while traveling means you think of your limited data plan first, usually shared with your family. Watch a movie or a few HD clips, you have suddenly used up a big chunk of your allocated monthly capacity.
With all of these devices being so close to each other in terms of features, how do I differentiate my product? One way I could is by owning my own bandwidth for my customers. Buy my device, get X GB free per month, additional capacity at rates half of the carriers. But you are free to buy from any carrier. Plus, you can take this device to China, Japan, India, Europe and it will work based on the agreements I have made through my investment in CLWR. Try to find any other company that can give this advantage to the Amazons, Apples and Microsofts. All they need to do is dip into their considerable cash pile and add to Dish's bid. Reserve a chunk of spectrum and get a network built that supports the latest technology.
Probably a remote possibility, but makes sense for some of these device makers and content providers to loosen those carrier strangleholds.
AAPL is under considerable pressure to add more value to Shareholders. Already hearing chatter from analysts that they need to invest in a network consisting of broadband and satellite communication while creating global alliances. A major push towards entertainment and social networks. But they would need spectrum to get it done. They need differentiation amongst their competitors which is what made them so great, but now the stakes are higher. Likewise Google and Microsoft will need to make a move to set themselves apart and create value for their shareholders going forward or they will be stuck in a trading range.