half 180$60B of hot air evaporates. The U.S. auction is down to $10B compared to most estimates of $60-80B. Tim Farrar, one of the best analysts in this space, tells me it might come back up modestly, winding up at $0.90/MHz/pop. Last time, it came to $2.63/MHz/pop. Technology is increasing capacity of current spectrum faster than demand is growing. See my article  and the reporting on MIMO and Gig LTE. 

Everyone is better off with lower spectrum prices except those who own some. The broadcasters got the spectrum for nothing and mostly weren't using it. Every dollar in this auction would be a windfall profit, mostly to very rich men. Some of them are now crying like babies whose toys were taken away.

The prospects of spectrum holders Dish and Straight Path are dark.

I don't pick stocks and the market here runs on psychology, not facts. I wouldn't want to play poker against Charlie Ergen but he seems to be holding a losing hand.  The reduction of spectrum values implied also could chop $10B off the balance sheets of AT&T and Verizon, but the accounting there is so creative I wouldn't want to guess. 

 Too many people believed the lobbyist lies about a spectrum crisis. More spectrum slightly lowers wireless costs, somewhere about ~1% of the customer bill. By 2009, the engineers knew the spectrum crisis was invented; the folks at the Broadband Plan demanded the FCC Chair take their names off some of the propaganda he was putting out. Verizon's CEO Ivan Seidenberg was telling Wall Street they didn't have a spectrum crisis at the same time the telcos guy in DC were inventing one.

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"There's never been a spectrum shortage and there never will be one," Marty Cooper told Washington in 2014. (Marty built the first cellphone and went on to be an antenna pioneer.) He was joined by several other Marconi Fellows who saw a 50X or 100X capacity increase coming. The engineers saw this coming, but DC ignored them as usual. Even after this demonstration, wireless lobbyist Stephen Berry claimed, "The entire communications industry is staring down a spectrum crunch in the early days of data-hungry 4G and 5G services, which consumers need and expect, and which require both high-band spectrum and more importantly 'greenfield' low-band spectrum for coverage." He belongs on the unreliable sources list. 

Legendary lobbyist Preston Padden should be particularly embarrassed by his high estimate; he should have known his peers like Jim Cicconi at AT&T were not to be believed. (Working for Disney, Preston got the Mickey Mouse copyright act through Congress, one of the greatest lobbying coups of my lifetime.)

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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