Dave 20GBPSTelcos report costs going down 40% to 60%. That allows T-Mobile U.S. & Sprint to offer "unlimited" with only a few gotchas. Competition and regulation will determine who is actually served. 

Technology on the market can deliver 10X to 25X at reasonable cost; Weak competition or weak regulation could hold this back. Speeds over 50 megabits with a cap high enough to watch 100 hours/month of HD TV can be delivered in most of the developed world. The engineers can deliver. Marconi Fellow Paulraj tells me Massive MIMO will bring many of the same benefits to most rural areas, including in emerging nations. Extreme rural areas - the last 1-3% - may not be as fortunate.

Giga LTE offers about a gigabit to the cell site. Beginning this year, phones with a good connection will get 100-300 megabits down. Phones on the cell edge and behind walls are seeing a 4X improvement as well. Gig LTE combines more antennas (4x4 MIMO,) more spectrum (60-80 MHz,) and more bits squeezed in (256 QAM.) Gig LTE is five or six times as much as LTE started at and about three times the capacity of most advanced systems in 2016. The meter in the picture showing about one gig at Huawei's BBF in Tokyo Nov 2016 is Gig LTE. Two gig has been demonstrated by British Telecom. Explained for non-engineers here.

Massive MIMO, using as many as 128 antennas, by September 2016 was deployed at 100 cells of Softbank Japan

and by China Mobile. Both told me at the Huawei BBW in Tokyo the results were excellent, and they are moving on thousands. There are many refinements to come.  3X-10X

Half a dozen other technologies are starting to have an impact. For example, Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon thinks SON & HetNets make his small cell deployments much more efficient. He tells me S&H may make more difference in the next few years than the more publicized advances. There are plenty of claims of the size of coming improvements but no solid data from the field. The effect will not be small.  

Most of these tools work together, so multiply the impact of each to get a total. Several are deploying in volume in 2017, but upgrading large telco networks takes time. We don't yet know how to get maximum results or integrate the different pieces. The results are already dramatic. Verizon's David Small estimates his costs are going down 40% per year. I have data from Telefonica that implies a 60% improvement last year. 

Most believe it will be four to seven years before we see a large effect in mobile from 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) high frequency. Leading researcher Ted Rappaport expects results sooner. The 20 gigabits at the Huawei demo is exciting, but almost everyone thinks large deployments on mobile will wait until next decade. Giant China Mobile is among the most advanced but only expects 1% of its network upgraded in 2020. Verizon plans to test mmWave fixed to several hundred homes in 2017. mmWave to phones is two to four years away. The advanced technologies I'm discussing here have a bill of materials cost similar to what costs were in 2011. The vendors out with the newest technology hope to get a premium. It may take 2-4 years for the right price to emerge. 

 
 
I define "reasonable cost" as fitting into today's capital spending. I don't yet understand how this will play out in extreme rural areas, where fewer than 50 homes are within reach of backhaul. 
 

Newsletter

Often interesting

Latest issue

 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.

more

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