People per cell siteChengliang Zhang's keynote at OFC revealed that China Telecom will build ~2M base stations (doubling) for a national network at 3.5 GHz. Most will be built between 2020 and 2025. A bigger telecom story is hard to imagine, but only the great Ray Le Maistre caught it. Thank you Ray.

Currently, CT uses 1.16M 4G cells for China's population of 1.379B, or about 1,200 people per cell today. In 2015, CT was at about 1,700 people per cell. That was about equal to Spain and Korea and three times fewer than AT&T or Verizon.  (Chart)

("5G" at 3.5 GHz, of course, has performance like LTE, not 5G millimeter wave. It's 70-90% slower than mmWave, the original 5G. Latency isn't even close to the highly touted 1 ms. Many of us used to call 3.5 Fake 5G, but 3GPP has now accepted it.)

Much of Chengliang's talk was about the new optical backbone they are building for capacity and speed. They are using 25G Ethernet for the edge rather than the NG-PON2 at Verizon. everything will be optical, fast, and almost failsafe.

His goal is to have 90% of China within 30 ms of a CT server. China does not impose Net Neutrality and the system is designed to place almost everything on local servers controlled by the telco. This is the wet dream of most telcos around the world but so far never achieved.

The telco NGMN CTO's have a 20 year roadmap with the same goal: Everything through the telcos.



dave ask


Rethinking Jan 27: Coronavirus could invalidate all projections. I reported on AIDS for 2 years. This could be worse because it spreads in air. Let us hope and pray.

Details on all 5G phones, as prices drop to $285 ** All actual 5G networks worldwide ** Facebook ordered to repost Italian fascist page. ** Apple China sales down 35%** Qorvo sees 300M 5G 2020 & 750M 2023 mmWave <10%

** Bharti demands India Gov more than double prices and enforce cartel. Sunil Mittal "Situation is dire. It is a matter of survival for everyone." ** Wi-Fi 6 meets ITU 5G criteria @stephenjcrowley ** Samsung $8B for Chinese memory plants ** Morgan paying billions for Altice fiber

Dec 10 Sprint bringing $300-500 5G phones to US 2020. Nokia, Lenovo, HMD ** H., Apple, and AMD doing 5 nm test runs on TSMC's 5 nm. Early results are 15-30% better than 7 nm ** AT&T low-band 5G built to >65% US. Speeds slower than 4G at launch. ** 

Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne: >1/2 VZ 5G "will approximate to a good 4G service" Midband in "low hundreds" Mbps ** CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon. ** Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  


Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers, especially when you find an error.

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