One reason Verizon is moving early on 5G is they need to have people think they are by far the best. Their entire business model is based on people paying more because they believe Verizon is superior. That's no longer true; AT&T and T-Mobile are so close to Verizon in quality most people wouldn't notice the difference. Jennie has T-Mobile here in New York, a hard city to service. She's not seeing any problems.
The chart at the left from Open Signal shows T-Mobile running faster in several parts of the country. They've hired Kevin Fitchard to blog for them. He's doing excellent work, as he did at GigaOm. Verizon of course has data from another source saying they are better.
My guess is that Verizon is slightly better, especially in the most rural 5% of the country.
Free webcast of the best technical wireless event of the year. Ted Rappaport, probably the most respected 5G engineer in the world, once a year invites several dozen of his peers for an intense discussion. It's a who's who of 5G research, all bringing their best stuff. Top engineers from AT&T, NTT, Korea Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Huawei, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, and many others are presenting. So are world-class professors, including Guiseppe Caire, Erik Larsson, Sundeep Rangan, Robert Heath, Akihiro Nakao, and of course Ted. Complete program and speaker bios below. IEEE is webcasting April 21-22, thanks to funding by National Instrument. Register for the complete live webcast. (Try to catch it live in case they are slow posting the replay.)
In 2014 at the first Brooklyn Summit, AT&T's #2 John Stankey, the CTO of NTT DOCOMO Seizo Onoe, and many of their peers spoke. UntiI then I was a doubter. The event convinced me.
Samsung, TSMC not getting yields on 10 nm process. Pioneers get arrows in their backs and Qualcomm's 835 LTE chip remains in very short supply. At MWC, The biggest noshow was the Samsung Galaxy S8; Samsung couldn't even manufacture enough chips for their own phones, much less Qualcomm's other customers.
3,000,000,000 transistors on one chip are a heck of a lot. There's no shame in being late, just disappointment. Most GigLTE cell sites won't be ready this year anyway; with massive overcapacity most places, few are needed.
#2 Mediatek is a victim of similar yield problems at TSMC. Nikkei confirms previous reports that few want to buy Mediatek 10 core flagship chip. Samsung and Apple design their own, now joined by Huawei and Xiaomi.
John Pitzer suggests that if the Nokia 3310 is the most exciting phone at MWC, there wasn't much at the show.
CEO of world #3 Bharti, says, "You build one massive network from which everyone is served." Billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal has 340M million customers across Asia and Africa. "The current system of building networks for each operator needs to be completely dismantled," he tells Economic Times. "Far too much wastage is happening. Netcos and mobile companies should separate themselves. Spectrum should be pooled in a netco. Your spectrum efficiency rises significantly. The need for base stations is halved immediately. The time for a license and 500,000 base stations creating a value is over."
With wireless no longer growing explosively, most countries can't afford to build so many networks. “The density of expenses in terms of capex, spectrum is going up, whereas revenue is tapering off." Vodafone's Vittorio Colao and Stéphane Richard of France Telecom/Orange both are demanding the EU get rid of some competitors - preferably all of them. Colao thinks all but one or two mobile companies can't survive. Every executive at U.S. telcos believes either Sprint or T-Mobile need to disappear.
One network is much cheaper than two; two cheaper than the four to seven usually needed for strong competition.
In a move likely to spread across Europe, T-Mobile NL is now "unlimited." T-Mobile Netherlands breaks market taboos, is Tim Poulus' provocative headline at Telecompaper. Tim adds, "There's no doubt that the boards of KPN, VodafoneZiggo and Tele2 are now working furiously to come up with a response." Meanwhile, there's no growth in landlines, as you can see in the diagram from Point-Topic.
If T-Mobile in Germany and across Eastern Europe also goes unlimited, nearly all companies except in Southern Europe will have to match. With 170 MHz of spectrum in the Netherlands, TMO can easily go to three and soon four band aggregation and meet any likely demand.
Nearly all wireless companies have excess capacity 95% of the time most places.
The Age of Wireless Abundance is Here, I wrote a few weeks ago, but even I didn't expect Verizon to move so soon. President Ronan Dunne reversed a decade of crying shortage, shortage. “We’ve built our network so we can manage all the activity customers undertake and we’ve built it for the future, not just for today,”
That's an enormous turnaround from a few months ago, when CFO Fran Shammo told investors, "At the end of the day the majority of people don't need unlimited plans. But the people who use unlimited plans can be abusive, they can really wreak havoc to your network. And at the end of the day as we launched LTE, I continue to say you cannot make money in an unlimited video world."
Nothing's changed on the network, but Shammo is gone and Ronan has joined. Verizon actually has a somewhat obsolete network, building most of it in 2009-2011. More recently, T-Mobile has built comparable capacity for half what Verizon spent and has easier upgrades. If those two can go "unlimited," so can almost every major telco.
Marty Cooper said three years ago, "There's never been a spectrum shortage and there never will be one." I was skeptical until I heard some very good engineers who mostly agreed: Paulraj, Samueli, Goldsmith, Cerf and others. They inspired me to learn the technology, which is advancing at an almost unbelievable speed. 10X is in sight even with Verizon reducing capex. 25-50X will be possible soon, with Massive MIMO and mmWave. Verizon's 5G mmWave in Massachusetts will not be mobile, but Massive MIMO is ready to go.
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