Mobile data traffic is increasing exponentially and the ability of mobile broadband (MBB) technologies, such as Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A), to meet this demand depends on the availability of spectrum beyond that which is currently available to cellular mobile systems. This additional spectrum will be needed even considering the gains that will be delivered by LTE and LTE-A's higher spectral efficiency and the use of cell densification. Allocating and making spectrum available on a global basis is a complex process that is managed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on a worldwide scale. Alcatel-Lucent and the wider mobile industry are working to harmonize this spectrum as much as possible to improve economies of scale for mobile broadband technologies and products. This paper describes the current “spectrum crunch,” the spectrum allocation process, steps being taken to make more effective use of available spectrum, and the challenges in making additional spectrum available for the success of next-generation wireless networks. © 2013 Alcatel-Lucent.