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

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

“Wireless will increase 50X to 100X. MU MIMO is the right choice for rural areas, especially where there are no landlines and you need maximum capacity.” A J Paulraj, 2014

Henry Samueli, Andrea Goldsmith, Vint Cerf, Ted Rappaport and Marty Cooper in 2014 were comfortable with 50X, which of course was not guaranteed. No one except engineers believed them.

In 2017, this is coming out to the world. Massive MIMO is shipping by the 1,000’s to Softbank Japan and China Mobile. Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T are racing to be first in the U.S. with Gig LTE. Verizon’s 5G mmWave (fixed) is going to field tests. A half dozen less publicized techniques are making a difference. CTOs and senior tech people around the world see a 10X to 25X capacity increase at modest cost.

We are entering a Wireless Age of Abundance.
Trump’s tech people are not the shills the NY Times suggests. They are smart, dedicated, and believe in what they are doing. I know Eisenach to be an excellent economist who works hard to find the data. What they believe is deeply anti-government and they see everything through that lens. Net neutrality regulations are gone or gutted; those who believe in neutrality will need to find other tools, such as consumer action. 

It’s likely Trump era policies will echo Bush II rather than be a break with the past. Bush’s first FCC Chairman, Mike Powell, was close to Eisenach’s PFF. I hope they focus on government waste, such as the $100M scandal at RUS that’s been covered up or how much of USF/CAF is pure giveaway.

I urge them to appoint at least one commissioner with a strong tech background, such as Julie Knapp (OET) or Bill Smith, who recently retired from running AT&T’s network.

Readers should know I am strongly opposed to Trump and his policies, even if I’m not lying in the street in front of the White House playing dead. I haven’t done that in years. I’ll do my best to report accurately.
Verizon has proven sharing spectrum can work, especially if they have 20 MHz to 40 MHz for a control plane. The LAA/LTE testing they’ve supported provides a powerful argument for sharing most of Verizon’s spectrum and cutting monopoly spectrum by 50%-75%. A remarkable British government report promotes sharing licensed spectrum that’s not in use. Drs. Boccardi, Hudson, and Unger of OFCOM are leading the world on sharing spectrum.   

Done right, this can roughly double capacity. Engineers know this but it's a revelation to most policy people. Pai & Eisenach please note: If you believe in markets, reducing spectrum monopolies over time should be part of your program.
Paris May 9-11 is an unmissable event for anyone deploying networks. Trevor Linney of BT, deploying 10M lines; John Cioffi with a bombshell; and just about every company in the business except Broadcom. In three days, you'll master & discover the state of the art. I'm chair and promise a very high S/N.

This issue is for Ahmad Waqass Goraya & Asim Saeed in Pakistan, Arash Sadeghi in Iran, and the dozens jailed in Israel and Palestine for Facebook postings. The music is the songs of Paul Robeson.

Conflict of interest: Huawei paid expenses for me, Jennie and her cameras to their Tokyo event.

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

Wireless Abundance is here: What the new tech means
Technology already on the market can deliver 10X to 25X today's capacity at reasonable cost. Most areas will see this in 2-4 years; weak competition or weak regulation will hold some back.

Gig LTE offers about a gigabit to the cell site. Beginning this year, phones with a good connection will get 100-300 megabits down.  That's 6X original LTE and 3X the more advanced systems.

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. Even in early days, the improvement is 3X to 10X. 

Half a dozen other technologies are starting to have an impact. I report those in the Eightfold Way to the Wireless Age of Abundance. The impact will not be small but we don't have field results for a good estimate. below and

Most of these tools work together, so multiply the impact of each to get a total. Then 

5G millimeter wave won't see volume for 4-7 years, most people believe. Key researcher Ted Rappaport thinks it will be sooner.

The first results are in. Verizon's David Small sees his costs going down 40%/year. Telefonica costs went down 60% in 2016.  The spectrum price is down by half in the latest auction.T-Mobile U.S., Sprint and Finland now offer "unlimited" with only a few gotchas. Carriers around the world will follow. 

Add to that 5G mmWave. Most believe it will be four to seven years before we see a large effect but leading researcher Ted Rappaport expects results sooner

Sprint & T-Mobile Charge to be 1st in U.S. to Gig LTE  AT&T
John Saw of Sprint will "push 1 Gbps speed boundaries very soon," he mentioned December 13. Later, he specifically said, "in 2017." Neville Ray of T-Mobile replied, "T-Mobile will absolutely be first to Gigabit speeds!"  Godspeed to both of them, although the availability of phones with the 835 chip will probably be the big issue. In 60-120 days, expect to see the 835 in the Samsung Galaxy 8, the Xiaomi MI 6, and phones from HTC and LG. The “gig” is per cell. Individual phones may get hundreds of meg but not a gig.

T-Mobile has a dramatic video of testing over 900 megabits with "an unreleased phone." " target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;" data-saferedirecturl=""> In Tokyo, Huawei's LTE ran at over a gig for the two day show. Saw dropped a mention of Massive MIMO but no details. Verizon is being quiet but their research is advanced. AT&T’s John Donovan responded with a promise of 2017. Verizon hasn’t spoken, but I know their research is advanced.

BT meanwhile is working with Huawei to use more spectrum and reach two gigs.

*** FIerce Wireless luncheons at MWC. Feb 27-March 1. Featuring Sanyogita Shamsunder of Verizon, the first U.S. carrier to endorse massive MIMO. The real standouts are the three Fierce reporters, Monica Alleven, Mike Dano, and Colin Gibbs. (ad) I'm giving them a free ad in return for how much I pick up from them.

Kitahara of Softbank “I am crazy about Massive MIMO”
China Mobile and Softbank Japan are placing orders for thousands of cells. Early results are improvements of at least three times and sometimes as much as ten times. Softbank has 100 base stations up and running. China Mobile has working systems in two cities.  Huang Yuhong of China Mobile is impressed with their testing. Huawei and ZTE are shipping in volume. 

Softbank has 100 base stations up and running. China Mobile has working systems in two cities. They are both ready to order thousands. Their early reports are that 128 antenna Massive MIMO today increases capacity 3X to 10X. It will improve. Softbank’s historic Massive MIMO, which I was the first to report in the West Verizon agrees We must have massive MIMO 

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LTE gets to the gigabit explained for non-engineers 
Three well-known technologies come together. Gig LTE isn't magic, just darn good engineering. More spectrum is put to use through carrier aggregation. Early LTE used a single 20 MHz band. Gig LTE will use three or four bands. More antennas send more signals, usually four. (4x4 MIMO). Advanced modulation (256 QAM) carries 8 bits per signal rather than the 6 bits of the earlier 64 QAM, a third more. 

Massive MIMO explained.
Paulraj in 1993 discovered that you can multiply capacity by using many antennas, even close together. (The signals bounce off walls and obstacles so you can tell them apart.) By 2009, Moore’s Law brought the cost of the processing power low enough that MIMO was deployed in Wi-Fi. Massive MIMO uses 64 or 128 small antennas, which allow multiple beams and use the additional antennas for beamforming (steering.) The first units were deployed in late 2016 by China Mobile and Softbank Japan. The units require prodigious processing power and state of the art engineering. The early results are showing a 3X to 10X capacity increase. There are dozens of suggested improvements in research papers; as they get implemented, performance should increase.

A Massive MIMO textbook is now out. Marzetta published Fundamentals of Massive MIMO at the beginning of the year. The book belongs close at hand for every engineer in advanced wireless. Marzetta invented  Massive MIMO at Bell Labs, so I expected a fine book. Marzetta and co-authors Larsson, Yang, and Ngo did an extraordinary job. The book is admirably clear, short, and definitive. They answer the key questions: what it is, why it works, and how to design the systems. 

*** Paris May 9-11 is an unmissable event for anyone deploying networks. Trevor Linney of BT, deploying 10M lines; John Cioffi with a bombshell; and just about every company in the business except Broadcom. In three days, you'll master & discover the state of the art. I'm chair and promise a very high S/N. (Ad) Jennie's bringing her camera.

20 Gig mmWave, Massive MIMO & Gig LTE at the Huawei MBBF
I saw and I believe. Throughout the show, two large screens showed live data from a 1 GHz mmWave + 4x4 LTE MIMO system. The results were consistently between 19 gigabits and 21 gigabits. Across the room, Softbank showed Massive MIMO. Outside in the parking lot, Softbank had a live demo of NB-IoT.

The 20 gig mmWave is the headline, but also note the consistent gigabit from LTE. As you can see from the picture, Huawei did something I haven't seen from anyone else. The signals were combined, live. 

On the floor I saw an 8 x 2 MIMO system already deployed in Kuwait that improved performance 50% in congested areas. I saw the 2 Gig LTE being tested at BT. Customers showed great demos of VR, robot manufacturing, and drones.    

I learned that Softbank Japan and China Mobile are ordering thousands of Massive MIMO base stations. Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon reminded us that small cell HetNet and SON as well as other less publicized advances shouldn't be forgotten. That inspired my Eightfold Way piece, below. Softbank and China Mobile told me Massive MIMO was working so well they were ready to order thousands. 

Pepper showed us how well a robot can dance Gangnam style.

2017's Big Gigabit story: Qualcomm 835 is ready
Gig LTE is happening because Qualcomm’s remarkable chip is reaching the market. The first commercial chip built on Samsung’s 10 nanometer process will be in nearly every high end Android phone as quantities ramp up in a few months. It also has enormous processing power for video, AR, VR, and gaming. No other chip comes close. Qualcomm looks to be 6-12 months ahead of everyone. (Some folks at Qualcomm hate me because I tell the truth about their lobbying in D.C. and 3GPP. I hope they can see I’m equally delighted to praise them. They are one of the best chip outfits in the world.)

*** The Brooklyn 5G Summit April 17-19 features CTOs from NTT, KT, and Nokia. Professor Ted Rappaport brings in the world's top researchers as well as senior people from the major telcos. IEEE will provide a live stream. (PSA) Ted's 5G Summit has an extraordinary S/N, See you there.

Doubling speed with 4x4 MIMO & 256 QAM at T-Mobile 
T-Mobile’s experience in the field is a convincing point that Gig LTE will deliver.

Netgear Nighthawk M1, Telstra do "gigabit class" LTE
This was announced last fall as the first Gig LTE device in the world. But I couldn’t find any available or when I asked Telstra. Presumably, it will be excellent when more units are available.


Spectrum price down by half
The $60-80B expectations were hogwash. The telcos know the tech advances I’m writing about and just don’t need spectrum so badly. The auction is at $10B, which could go up to ~$18B as it ends. Tim Farrar see it winding up at $0.90/MHz/pop. Last time, it came to $2.63/MHz/pop. Too many people believed the lobbyist lies about a spectrum crisis. More spectrum slightly lowers wireless costs, somewhere about ~1% of the customer bill. It’s maybe the fourth or fifth most important factor in wireless progress, not the crucial one lobbyists’ proclaim. 

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.

"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) There's a video of Marty in 2014 predicting this all

Dish and the telcos see big asset cut

John Hodulik, Craig Moffett, and Brett Feldman also accepted the price drop and had the guts to say, “I was wrong.” Honesty like that is one reason they are the best on Wall Street. Feldman of Goldman writes, "We estimate that the auction will end with just under $18bn of bids, implying a valuation of $0.86/MHz/POP." Moffett read through to DISH. "At $1.00 per MHz-POP, Dish’s shares would be worth about just over a third of their recent trading range."

The new values should chop ?$10B off the balance sheets of AT&T and Verizon, but the accounting there is so creative I wouldn't want to guess. Telco balance sheets, at least in the U.S., should be considered fiction. The same is true of the absolute level of capex. 

Craig went on to discuss what clearly now is a buyer's market for spectrum. While I report tech is reducing the need for spectrum, Craig notes the financial issues that will keep the price down. Verizon has "balance sheet constraints." AT&T's "balance sheet is stretched to the breaking point." Craig has been pointing out how hard they've had to work just to cover their dividends. They continue to raise dividends every year to inflate the stock price, but earnings have been flat to down. Both should be cutting dividends but fear the stock price - and CEO options - would collapse. 

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.


  • I wrote that the Qualcomm 835 announcement would bring Gig LTE to the general press. I think that’s a crucial trend, foreshadowing an age of abundance in wireless. Times, WSJ & Washpo journalists don’t see that yet. Q chose to feature battery life and increased performance for (extraordinary) augmented and virtual reality, not the raw capacity. Matt Humrick did an exceptional job reporting the features of the 835, including 4K video encoding and dual camera support, at


  • Rajesh Manish writes about my article that was strongly critical of their research report. “I have just gone through your article on our market study on ' News'. I believe you misinterpreted our study. The number of subscriber is very much underestimated in your case. BT and AT&T alone expected to have around 20 million subscribers by the year 2022 (your own data on News). So how can you estimate our finding based on your assumption?” Unless the price per chip was about $200, the report implied that all those subscribers and many more would sign up in 2022. Unlikely. If he had responded when I first wrote him, I would have included his full comments in my article.


  • As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the world-changing iPhone, let us not forget the remarkable Ralph de la Vega, who took a massive gamble and brought the iPhone to America at AT&T. He just retired as Vice-Chairman.
  • If you have any doubt about how fast wireless technology is moving, take a look at for how much NYU alone is doing. Even the pros in wireless are struggling to keep up.
  • Bruno Dewaelheyns of Nokia posted that they are hiring an ASIC/FPGA engineer in Belgium, despite the cutbacks in the company.
  • “Will rush for New Radio compromise 5G quality?” is an article at The answer of course is yes; some bad compromises have been made, as the very cogent article explains. I reported that China Mobile and AT&T found better performance from Cohere. That, as well as other ideas, seem to have disappeared. The article is from Peter White or Caroline Gabriel, both among the best telecom reporters.
  • The IEEE, IETF, and ITU are already questioning why 3GPP is making decisions like this. Vint Cerf and Larry Strickling (U.S. Internet lead until Trump replaces him) should be more than corporate only. Both are deeply committed to “multi-stakeholder” and 3GPP has no public or civil society participation. 3GPP has done an extraordinary job on the technical side, but has never done a good job on the public interest side. It’s done nothing to prevent clearly unreasonable royalties, a major issue in the global South and poor people everywhere. 3GPP LAA clearly interferes with WI-Fi, as independent testing by New York City demonstrated. The head of the relevant 3GPP committee lied about that; his company stands to collect literally $billions in royalties. The list goes on. Great engineers but they answer to companies who, like all companies, put their profits first.
  • Starry CEO Chet Kanojia did a remarkable talk at CITIBANK. If they deliver what he describes, including a 5 gig microwave ptmp system that costs $1,000, that’s a game changer.  It uses 802.11ac to keep the cost down.

Eightfold way to the Wireless Age of Abundance Version 0.1.2

10,000 engineers are producing remarkable advances in wireless. Massive MIMO, GiG LTE, and 5G millimeter wave make the headlines, but I'm learning from folks like Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon to look at another half-dozen tools soon coming out of the labs. The linked article is three times as long It is still very incomplete and needs your improvements. It’s growing as suggestions come in and I do more research.

HetNets and SON for interference reduction between cells. 
As interference problems are solved, small cells are deploying in volume. Finally.

Sharing spectrum 
Wi-Fi proves that shared spectrum can deliver more capacity. The U.S. is moving ahead on sharing 3.5 GHz frequencies now mostly used by the military; the navy doesn't use the spectrum in the middle of the country. December 2016, a major British government report recommended sharing licensed spectrum as well. Telcos led by Verizon, working with Qualcomm, have demonstrated LTE can share spectrum with Wi-Fi in LAA. 

Monopoly spectrum is becoming obsolete in the next few years, except for a minimum amount for control channels. (?20-40 MHz.) The engineers know it, but few in policy. That's why the British report is so important.

Full Duplex uses the same spectrum for both upstream and down, yielding a likely throughput increase of 50% or more

Reducing the capacity demands of the billions of IoT devices. 
NB-IoT, starting to deploy in LTE networks, allows connection while using less spectrum. So does LTE Cat M and at least three flavors of low power wide area networks. Most IoT devices send only limited data, often for brief periods. The 80 MHz of 802.11ac and the 40 MHz of LTE/LAA should be considered harmful; ways to use no more spectrum than the application needs necessary. 

Ways to put more spectrum bands in use
Both Verizon and AT&T recently told Wall Street they have 40 MHz of unused spectrum each, enough to double their current capacity. 2016 brought three band aggregation, with ten band on the way. Full Software defined Radio  doesn't fit in a mobile phone that's less than military sized - yet. 

Most countries have hundreds of megahertz unused around 3.5 GHz, just now being made available. The newly shared 3.5 GHz band in the U.S. could support four Verizon-sized networks.  

Several techniques I'm combining into item eight because I like the title Eightfold Way.  
Murray Gell-Mann's Eightfold Way unified sub-atomic physics. He took the name from the Buddhists. The Noble Eightfold Path is Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. They include better antennas in phones and base stations; power tweaks such as HPUE; analog improvements that allow going beyond 256 QAM;  and more.
There will be generations of technology still to come. They will be called "6G," which will again be a near-meaningless marketing term. "Cell free" systems will reconfigure the physical network on the fly, optimizing for the actual demand at that moment. .. .

Halving the bandwidth needed can do as much as doubling the network capacity. Google's new RAISR delivers a remarkable picture at half the size. Advances in video encoding continue; applying AI in a RAISR-like style is promising. T-Mobile is reducing video to 480P by default, probably halving the file size with only a modest change in quality on most phones. This must be under easy control by customers or is a violation of neutrality.

A note on WI-Fi: You can't look at the wireless future without including Wi-Fi. One basic is that most incumbent telcos in some areas can double capacity for minimal cost simply by turning on a second SSID in customers existing home gateways. As I walk around Manhattan or Paris and look for Wi-Fi, I usually see gateways from both the local cableco and telco.

802.11ac works well for a kilometer or two, making it a very viable choice for areas without tall buildings or hills. Starry has ambitious plans for Boston. Wi-Fi is far cheaper and easier to manage for the local connection at the end of rural fiber. India and others are running fiber to hundreds of thousands of villages. Put up a 50-foot pole and Wi-Fi can give good coverage at a very low cost, with easy operation.

Improvements welcome.

FNN November 11

France is a small country. Our friends are safe but a colleague of one was shot in the shoulder and required surgery. The brother of another was at the concert but survived. Jennie

Reply "subscribe" to be added, "un" to be dropped.  Forward this to friends, please.

Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdams hopes to have some "5G" tools as soon as 2017, not 2020. Important advances in MIMO, millimeter wave  and full duplex are being demonstrated. Antonio Forenza unveiled what may be ?the most important wireless advance in years.?  pCell is a MIMO system that could increase speeds by 3x to 10x. Unproven but USC Prof Giuseppe Caire is a believer. ? It is absolutely remarkable. The early trials showed pCell achieving far higher concurrent user capacity than any wireless technology I am aware of.? Nokia's CTO Hossein Moiin is ready to try pCell.
IoT LoRa low power long range is deploying to 400M Indians and 50M French, racing to beat LTE-M. Google is quietly increasing spectrum by sharing the networks of T-Mobile and Sprint. 100+ megabit LTE is spreading around the world. 5G and 4G are becoming meaningless marketing terms..

Hence this special issue on wireless and the new site The main site has moved to, not I'm breaking stories about gigabit cable to 50M, at 200-600 taking off, telco LTE-U stealing half the WiFi spectrum, Germany first with 35b and how the U.S. cable mergers may fail.  

Tim Cook?s iPhone 6s sucks in the United States because U.S. mobile sucks. Samsung phones are delivering more than 100 megabits in Albania, The Maldives and two dozen other countries. The four U.S. carriers average LTE speeds of 10-25 megabits down. Barack Obama misspoke when he said the U.S. has the best wireless in the world. Many countries are much faster because they have twice as many cell sites.

Massive MIMO & 5G: Can Verizon have it in 2017?

Verizon wants 2017 while almost everyone thinks 2020. Huge gains coming in spectral efficiency, with respected engineers expecting 10x from MIMO and 50-100x all told. Unproven but plausible.

Verizon Ready to Try Massive MIMO and Beamforming
Beginning trials soon would suggest deployment in 2017 if they go well. That's not guaranteed. Lowell McAdam plans "Staying ~two years ahead of competitors in network performance." They are getting ambitious, including going to Alcatel's TWDM PON for 40 gig. The same day, Nokia announced they will test Antonio Forenza's pCell, giving them some credibility despite the overdone hype. Rethink reports pCell is working well in stadiums. They've built a 35 antenna hub. pCell is similar to M-MIMO, beamforming and interference cancellation.

Bernstein analyst Paul de Sa was the first to report "VZ will soon begin market trials of 5G capabilities including 'massive MIMO' (which is when a large number of antennas are packed into a single device) and beam forming (which is when a wireless signal is concentrated on a specific location)." Is this an impossible dream? AT&T has almost caught up, both use the same suppliers, and both have cut R&D so much little is "invented here."  Much more

Nokia: Massive MIMO/Interference Cancellation is Ready to Try
CTO Hossein Moiin intends to test Antonio Forenza's pCell technology early next year. FaultLine discovered there have been stadium field trials that went well but they are otherwise unreported.

Last year, I was extremely skeptical about Artemis/pCell after checking with three very respected engineers. Now, I have to look again because of  Caire?s comments and a much better demo. The 2015 demo showed 16 phones receiving 12.5 megabits from a 35 antenna hub. That's impressive for 5 MHz. CTO Antonio Forenza's engineering work is in the mainstream of wireless research, MU/Massive MIMO and interference cancellation. Few if any thought that would be ready for commercial trials so soon. If Artemis delivers in the field, a game changer.

Very big improvements are close in wireless. Arogyaswami Paulraj, Henry Samueli, Andrea Goldsmith and Vint Cerf in Marconi seminars were comfortable with the forecast wireless capacity would soon increase 50 times or more. MU MIMO will play an important role.

Steve Perlman made wildly implausible claims in 2014, including that they would deploy across 350 San Francisco rooftops by the end of last year. They haven't been seen. Much more, including the challenge of practical computation,

"Go Massive," Says the Texas MIMO Man
Verizon's Lowell McAdam also briefed street on a plan for "Staying ~two years ahead of competitors in network performance." (Paul de Sa.) They can't reach that goal without pulling up technologies that most thought were five years away. 

"Go Massive" is the conclusion of Robert Heath, at The University of Texas at Austin. Delivered wireless performance can increase two to ten times over the next few years using arrays of thirty-five to hundreds of antennas. Until this week, almost everyone thought that unlikely until 2020 and 5G.

Tower, working with UCSD, has a 256 antenna transmitter that looks aimed at expensive military systems. Henry Samueli at Broadcom mentioned last year they were working on a chip for 50 antennas. Much more

128 Antenna Massive MIMO demo puts China Mobile, ZTE in early lead
They didn't provide many results. In January, they spoke of 4-6 times better performance. In perfect circumstances, a unit like this could easily achieve 10 gigabits total throughput. These certainly were not "perfect circumstances." Among other things, you'd probably need an array of supercomputers to calculate everything. ZTE claims dedicated chips, which Henry Samueli of Broadcom in working on this too.

MIMO work was initially led by U.S. researchers. Stanford's Paulraj won the Marconi Prize for inventing it. Ted Rappaport, Andrea Goldsmith and Robert Heath are prominent at important universities as well as some near-legends at Bell Labs. Huawei has committed $600M to 5G research. ZTE is now in the top five. The EU has promised a billion for 5G research. More

Massive MIMO  & Beamforming Explained. What the Heck Are They?

Massive MIMO allows 5x, 10x or 100x better wireless throughput using many antennas. Add more antennas and enough processing power and almost anything can be achieved. With beamforming, the receivers can be phones with only two small antennas.  The calculations for many antennas only became practical very recently. The iPhone works well.
To simplify, beamforming focuses the radio signal. It's concentrated and stronger to an individual receiver such as a mobile phone or WiFi. It's sometimes described as "steering" the signal. It's been used in radar and sonar for decades. More recently, it's common in 802.11ac WiFi and built into some wireless standards.

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Why U.S. Mobile Sucks:
50% Fewer Cell Sites
Barack Obama says "The U.S. has the best wireless networks in the world." That's b______, Currently, Albania, The Maldive Islands, and at least a dozen other countries often deliver 100 megabits and occasionally 200 megabits, In the U.S., Verizon is advertising 6-12 megabits, although fairly often you see 20-30 megabits. Take a look at the chart and laugh American hubris.

AT&T and Verizon cram 3-5 as many people on each cell site. AT&T has around 50,000 cell site for 315M people, about 6,000 per site. Top London analyst Robin Bienenstock pointed this out years ago.

?Let's take California and Spain as an example. Telefonica has some 33,000 base stations in Spain Conveniently, California is a similar size, has a similar topography, and has very similar population density. In California, AT&T has just over 6,000 base stations. ... New Jersey and Massachusetts vs the Netherlands shows similar results."

Verizon and AT&T will soon offer higher speeds, maybe even the "up to 100 megabits." But the limited number of cell sites will mean they continue inferior to many others. Much more, including a very clear chart and the sources of the data,

2-3 Gigabits Spectrum Unused at Dish, Verizon, Sprint & AT&T (AO)
Ignoring this throws off most estimates. With just the spectrum already allocated, AT&T and Verizon could easily triple their network capacity without breaking the capital budget. In the U.S., my estimate is that spectrum, advanced technology and investment can easily provide a 25x gain many without blowing out capex budgets - if policy is smarter. 

More spectrum does not appreciably  increase wireless capacity in general. Telcos build capacity to meet the demand they expect. More spectrum reduces the cost (modestly.)

"We don't have a spectrum shortage and never will," Marty Cooper, who built the first cell phone. proclaims. In principle he's right. But Joan Marsh of AT&T pointed out change would take years. The political changes needed would be a battle.

What is smarter policy here? The first thing I would recommend is turning on the second SSID in most home gateways. (Purely opt-in). France is doing that and has mobile prices half that of the U.S. "Use it or share it" is the second obvious move. It frees up currently unused spectrum. This article is about the U.S. Much more

First Look: Google Fi is "increasing" spectrum by ~20%. WTF?
In effect, T-Mobile and Sprint are sharing spectrum and that increases capacity. Large spectrum blocks are less likely to be congested, partly a result of queueing theory. Google Fi uses both Sprint & T-Mobile - and lots of Wi-Fi - choosing whichever has capacity when the phone needs it.  When Sprint is congested but T-Mobile isn't, the connection automatically switches to the T-Mobile network and gets through. Same the other way. The peaks are often at different times.

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5G High Frequencies Ready to Work, But ...
Millimeter wave high frequencies are almost ready. Ted Rappaport at NYU and now the telecom giants agree. As Ted says, "It will work!!!." 2022-2023 is the usual date expected, but Verizon and others intend to speed things up.
There's a huge policy issue. mmWave is naturally a monopoly deployment. We either need drastically change policy or make regulation work. No easy answers here.

Incumbent Telcos Have a Huge Advantage in Millimeter Wave/High Frequencies
In most places only the incumbents have enough backhaul capacity. If we go widely for high frequencies, we will need to take drastic steps to maintain competition. More and more, it's looking like telecom is again tending toward monopoly. On the other hand, regulation has many problems. More but just a first sketch

14,000 Tests Support Indoor High Frequencies for 5G
NYU Wireless has just reported on 14,000 tests using 28 GHz and 73 GHz indoors. The paper isn't online yet so I put the abstract below. Professor Ted Rappaport believes, "These high frequencies will be an effective substitute when today's Wi-Fi frequencies get crowded."

The FCC is about to set aside some high frequencies for telco use. My opinion, not Ted's is that monopoly spectrum is obsolete. Wi-Fi is proving sharing is possible and productive.  Some monopoly spectrum is needed where reliability is important, but the 100 MHz Sprint, AT&T and Verizon each have is plenty.

Ted makes an important point.  "I think the FCC would do well to also authorize unlicensed bands in the near vicinity of that new mmWave spectrum. More, including the abstract 5G

France Telecom Getting Serious About 5G in High Frequencies
Gets ARCEP permission to test. Ted Rappaport at NYU has convinced the industry that high-frequency, millimeter wave wireless can work. But many questions remain. What are the effects of walls, windows, rain, and distance? We have only partial answers.

France Telecom/Orange intends to find out. They just receive approval for a year's worth of testing in the ancient city of Belfort. Much of the testing to date has been in Manhattan, Brooklyn and other highrise areas. Belfort is ideal for testing low-rise and suburban regions.

*** Faultline completely free 4 week trial. No credit card needed. We provide the technical understanding to help predict today?s dramatic changes. ( ad)  They find major stories others have missed. Expensive (~$2K) but value for money. 

400M Indians, 50M French Going LoRa. ?LTE Obsolete for IOT
Promised: 10 year battery life;, very low power; 15 km reach; 50-meter ground penetration; not stopped by seven walls; doesn't need a spectrum allocation; darned cheap; spread spectrum. Sounds impossible but France Telecom, Swisscom, KPN are jumping in. Tata doing 400M. Most IoT doesn't need more than LoRa's 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. Will LoRa deliver?

*** Paris 18/20 May Paris Summit Time to deploy.. As is the case every year, the most renowned experts will discuss and debate the hottest topics during the Summit, (ad) Last year, this was the most useful broadband event of the year. Loaded with people who designed and now are deploying.

300 Megabit 3 Band LTE in Korea, Spain
Realworld likely speeds of 50-150 megabits 90+% of the time. Two 20 MHz bands will deliver speeds like this. You rarely will need that kind of speed but higher capacity wireless means more bandwidth for all. The 2 gigabyte and 5 gigabyte caps need to disappear and they will where there's enough competition. 55% of Singapore is covered now and they'll be close to 100% next year.: Vodafone in Spain announced a similar 300 megabit (shared) deployment rapidly going countrywide. By December, Voda will have 4G to 100% of Spanish towns of 25,000 or higher.

  Rwanda will soon be supporting 750 megabits with help from Korea Telecom. They are building a network that can aggregate 5 carriers. More

300 megabits (shared) going to a gigabit across Denmark
500 towers running dual carrier LTE. Many Danes, much of the time, will see download speeds over 100 megabits as TDC upgrades to using 2 carriers and 40 MHz. The total capacity is 300 megabits, shared, and obviously lower as you get further from the towers. TDC's Peter Schleidt warns people to be realistic. "A client must not expect to get 300 Mbit / s or later 1 Gbit / s for herself." Gigabit speeds are part of LTE-Advanced Release 10 and will reach the field in a few years.

TDC proudly claims they are the fastest network in recent tests by Open Signal. More including an interesting comparison chart

*** ASSIA Quality of Experience. Watch CRO Buddy Snow at
Broadband World Forum 2015: How to deliver Quality of Experience


  • The European Networld 2020 White Paper for Research Beyond 5G is an extremely thoughtful and comprehensive look at the primary network choices of the next decade. It goes into issues of sharing both the networks and the control that are important but often taboo. More to come.
  • Dan Artusi, CEO of Lantiq, is now a vice-president and  general manager at Intel?s Connected Home Division. A friend at Lantiq believes the Intel purchase ?is great? and perhaps in this case the cliche is true.
  • France Telecom sold Kenya to Helios Investments after reaching only 11.5% market share despite large investments. Helios is a London based, Afrocentric private equity shop with $3B in capital. Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye have received investments from  George Soros, Madeleine Albright, Jacob Rothschild, David Bonderman and many others. Safaricom, 40% owned by Vodafone, dominates with a 67% market share. I reported Africa will pass the U.S. in broadband Internet by 2017 or 2018.
  • Broadcom has announced DSL "Reference Noise Cancellation,? with so little information I can?t write anything of substance. I think it?s a good thing - the principle is used in similar technologies. Vectoring is a powerful way to reduce some kinds of interference, but Broadcom is acknowledging it?s not enough. for a little more and the Broadcom pr..


  • Faultline has pointed me to two major stories recently that were missed by almost everyone in the West. I comped the ad in thanks of the courtesy sub they give me. Do take their free four week trial Pricey but value for money.
  • Kevin Fitchard is now writing for OpenSignal, where he has some of the best network data anywhere.  At GigaOm and before that Telephony, he was one of America?s best telecom reporters.
  • iPhone sales may be coming in a bit low, Digitimes hears.
  • Dish almost closed the deal to buy T-Mobile earlier this year. WSJ reports that according to CEO Legere,  ?The companies held talks ... the biggest sticking point killing the deal was the price of T-Mobile, although the sides weren?t too far apart.?

wall street

  • Paul de Sa and Carlos Kirjner at Bernstein have risen to the top rank. They see and report things others haven?t realized. Anyone eligible for investor reports should make sure to connect. At Columbia, Google VP Milo Medin apologized because he couldn't release information about Google Fiber. He recommended people check the work at Bernstein. I can confirm that Kirchner's estimates are consistent with the economics of other fiber networks. A conclusion: Google is expanding.and are confident of being profitable at $70/month for a gigabit. Capex is likely $1-2B/year, enough to connect about 2 million homes. That?s about 3% of the homes served by AT&T & CenturyQwest, the primary targets. That?s large enough to matter but don't panic.
  • Craig Moffett, their predecessor at Bernstein, November 9 sent out an extraordinary second report on satellite company Dish Networks. ?In our report this morning on Dish Network?s results, we estimated that Dish?s reported subscriber loss of 23K subscribers was comprised of a loss of approximately 47K subscribers to Dish?s traditional satellite TV business, offset by a gain of 24K to its Sling TV product,? he began, adding ? We now estimate that Sling probably added 155K subscribers,?  (Dish included the numbers for Sling in a confusing way.) The original report made an important point about Dish?s spectrum, ?Who will buy?? He concluded Verizon was the only logical bidder. He dismisses AT&T?s interest by claiming they already have plenty of spectrum for years. (Plausible.) Sprint has no need and no cash. T-Mobile U.S. does need spectrum soon, but he doesn?t see a way for them to raise the $10B and more Charlie wants.T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom could raise that much but probably won?t. I note DT profits haven?t covered their dividend the last three years. I came to somewhat similar conclusions before last fall?s auction. I was dead wrong, as the bids went to record setting levels. The logic is probably good but Dish jumped in at an unpredicted very high level and drove auction prices to twice what was expected. Whether that will happen next year is hard to predict.
  • ?Bitcoin has the character of a pyramid scheme,? FT writes. Whether or not that?s true, the technology behind bitcoins is getting interest from Wall Street as a way to record transactions around the world.

Next issues -

Full Duplex: DT, SKT, Stanford Guys Say Close
Ericsson: Microwave Fine for 5G Backhaul
Quantenna's Remarkable 10 Gig WiFi - Spectrum Greedy But Works
83% of Wireless Going Wi-Fi
Craig Moffett may have just killed the Altice-Cablevision Deal
Vint Cerf & 200 Friends: Make All Network Equipment Open Source

40 Million Comcast Gigabit Homes. Really.
Supersonic DOCSIS: 15 Gigabit Cable 2020, 50-80 Gigabits 2030
Deutsche Telekom, Telstra didn't know NSA had cracked  them
Capex flat, not rising, across Europe
England Tops in Euro Medium/fast Broadband
Nokia Gives Half of Nokia China to Government to get Alcatel Deal Approved
AT&T paid $17/month extra for video (Datapoint article)
Taiwan, Alcatel: is Commercial
Australia's NBN Going
BT Caps at 330 megabits Paris Springtime (May 18-20, 2016) Should be the Event of the Year
Schneider of Adtran: We bonded for over a gigabit
Bonded, 35b VPlus from Broadcom
Metanoia Chips at Broadband Forum Plugfest
Not So Interference Problem at Helsinki Test
DSL "Reference Noise Cancellation" from Broadcom



<p>Gig LTE & Massive MIMO ushering in the Age of Wireless Abundance</p> <p><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Wireless Abundance is here: What the new tech means <a href="" target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc;" data-saferedirecturl=""><wbr />Wirelessabundance<br /></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Sprint & T-Mobile Charge to be 1st in U.S. to Gig LTE <a href="" target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc;" data-saferedirecturl=""></a>  AT&T <a href="" target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc;" data-saferedirecturl=""><br /></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Kitahara of Softbank “I am crazy about Massive MIMO” <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">20 Gig mmWave, Massive MIMO & Gig LTE at the Huawei MBBF <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">LTE gets to the gigabit explained for non-engineers <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Massive MIMO explained. <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">2017's Big Gigabit story: Qualcomm 835 is ready <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Doubling speed with 4x4 MIMO & 256 QAM at T-Mobile <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Netgear Nighthawk M1, Telstra do "gigabit class" LTE <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Spectrum price down by half <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Dish and the telcos see big asset cut <span style="color: #1155cc;"><a href=""><br /></a></span><a href="" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl=""></a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">Shorts on 3GPP,  NYU research, Ralph de la Vega, 5G new radio</span></p>

5GW News

dave rightStarting July 2017, all new articles are at The pols and the marketing folks have made "5G" a meaningless term so the name doesn't fit reporting on advanced wireless. This will stay so old links work. 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