This comes out of the "stupid is as stupid does" department as clealy, someone inside Marriott's legal department, which is likely based right inside the Capital Beltway, doesn't know the basics of the Communications Act of 1934 nor the simple fact that jamming or causing interference that prevents reception of signals being sent over licensed spectrum is against the law.
But the excuse they are using about protecting against rogue hotspots is a reach and purely spin in this longtime practiitioner of crisis communications management's mind and eyes, as well as a long time user of Hotel Broadband and WiFi. Marriott paid the priced for being greedy and given how mobile operators have massive lobbying budgets, have spent billions on LTE spectrum, likely pay for a DAS in some hotels and do all they can to make their customers happy, the last thing anyone on the mobile network operator's side to hear is how some convention center is blocking the use of their devices when they've already invested money to upgrade their network footprint. Nor does the FCC, and with that came the fine...a really big fine.
For starters, doing what Marriott allegedly did, inside a convention environment, where the customers are basically a "Captive Audience" is on par with having the price of a hotel room rise when airports get shut down due to weather. Oh, right. Hotels already practice that, so this idea demonstrates that the apple's not falling far from the tree.
As someone who has suggested to multiple hotel operators in the past to get better at understanding the data tsumani that will impact them, this kind of shortsighted move by Marriott amplifies how little the hospitality industry is aware of what's ahead of them.
For starters, technology already exists to provide bandwidth on demand, to provide "clean air" and to work around the issues cause by third party Mi-Fi interferance. But the reality is hotels aren't investing in the technology infrastructure that can make problems turn into opportunities. Instead, by charging exhorbitant prices for WiFi they actually are stimulating the idea of BYOB (bring your own broadband) and by also providing inferior speeds, poor connectivity and a less than desireable customer experience, they actually are encouraging the use of MiFis and the hotspot features of smartphones and tablets. To then turn around and block/jam/interfere is simply saying "we need to make as much money as we can" to an informed audience.
To me, this is a wake up call to all hotel and convention industry types to look to what can be done and not just thing purely about profits. With the Internet of Things, sensors, beacons and monitors about to be relevant to people's health and well being, being greedy today may be really costly in the future.