Jean Paul Sartre by GrayJean-Paul Sartre died in 1980. There were fewer than a thousand cellphones in the world. The World Wide Web was a decade away. He's the most prominent existentialist philosopher. There's no obvious connection between his work and this analysis of the impact of Wi-Fi on telephone companies.

As I write in August, 2015, it's not clear whether the panic telcos are demonstrating about Wi-Fi is justified. Verizon is running scared about the risk they face from Wi-Fi offload. That's the most powerful signal that WiFi is a real threat. On the other hand, Cisco and AT&T continue to project 40%-50% growth in data demand for four or five years at least. I haven't seen any convincing data to the contrary.

They've turned around on the importance of telco small cells in high frequencies, presumably as part of a campaign to limit Wi-Fi. 

In the summer of 2014, Verizon was answering my questions about small cells in 3.5 GHz with a "probably not interested." CFO Shammo and others have made clear they have all the spectrum they need for the next few years' plans. A few months later, they emerged as the principal of a multi-million dollar campaign to enclose as much as half the Wi-Fi spectrum for telco use, LTE-U/LAA.

In particular, Verizon insists on deploying almost immediately, even before the standard is ready. Verizon and other Western telcos rarely use pre-standard gear unless they face an emergency. There's no emergency on spectrum, so I infer this is a political move. They are trying to create "facts on the ground" before policy people understand the threat to Wi-Fi and shut off the whole effort.

Cellular growth is falling in half, from 100%/year to 50%/year but the industry knew that was coming. The earlier high growth rates were an artifact of people getting their first smartphones. Cisco and especially AT&T have been predicting the fall-off in growth for two or three years. 

Bottoms-up, Wi-Fi First is clearly the most efficient way to build wireless networks. The lower cost of a network sending most of the traffic through existing home gateways changes all the economics. Iliad/Free in France is making a profit offering 20 gigabytes + unlimited text and sms for $20-25/month. Towers won't disappear because Wi-Fi is shortrange and can't reach everywhere.  Free has launched towers to 80% of France and is heading to 95% shortly. Coverage requires towers. But with most traffic going through gateways the cost per gigabyte plummets.

Interesting times.

 

 

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 Gig LTE & Massive MIMO ushering in the Age of Wireless Abundance

Wireless Abundance is here: What the new tech means http://bit.ly/Wirelessabundance
Sprint & T-Mobile Charge to be 1st in U.S. to Gig LTE bit.ly/STMOgig  AT&T bit.ly/ATTGIG2016
Kitahara of Softbank “I am crazy about Massive MIMO” http://bit.ly/MMIMOCrazy
20 Gig mmWave, Massive MIMO & Gig LTE at the Huawei MBBF http://bit.ly/Huawei20
LTE gets to the gigabit explained for non-engineers http://bit.ly/GigLteexplained
Massive MIMO explained. http://bit.ly/WHMassiveMIMO
2017's Big Gigabit story: Qualcomm 835 is ready http://bit.ly/BigGigLTE
Doubling speed with 4x4 MIMO & 256 QAM at T-Mobile http://bit.ly/2k1gEOQ
Netgear Nighthawk M1, Telstra do "gigabit class" LTE http://bit.ly/2k1s5Gq
Spectrum price down by half http://bit.ly/Spectrumhalfoff
Dish and the telcos see big asset cut http://bit.ly/auctionlosers
Shorts on 3GPP,  NYU research, Ralph de la Vega, 5G new radio

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5GW News

dave right5G? 4G? Whatever the name, wireless is going to a gigabit, soon.  I've reported broadband since 1999 and now is the time for gigabit wireless. Catch a mistake or have news? Email me please. Dave Burstein

 

Stories worth writing

Starry may match Verizon 5G at half the cost
OFCOM in UK: Share all spectrum, even licensed
OFCOM's Boccardi: 26 GHz worldwide: U.S. goes 28 
Verizon 5G fixed tests will be only 100's of homes
Massive MIMO FD at China Uni, Tele, Huawei, ZTE

 

 

 

Datapoints

Verizon and AT&T burying price increases in fees. 

Huawei's Richard Yu intends to pass both Apple & Samsung in smartphones in five years. 

The 3,000,000,000 transistor Qualcomm 835 is a revolution. Gig LTE, incredible cameras, better VR & AR, & ... State of the art CPU, DSL, GPU, ISP tightly integrated

1,000 T-Mobile small cells 2016, 6,000 more coming. Tech Life

New $84 Reliance Lyf Wind 7S has a 5" screen, a quad-core Snapdragon, an 8 megapixel camera, and some extras. Not state of the art, perhaps, but completely usable at a modest price. 

Orange/FT 4G covers 97% of Poland, 96% of Moldova, but only 84% in France, Q3 2016. They have 113.5 mobile customers in Africa compared to 25.5M in Europe.

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