VZ ATT 5G Nonsense 230Eric Xu, current Huawei Chairman, concludes "consumers would find no 'material difference between 5G & LTE'.” Louise Lucas and Nic Fildes,  Financial Times He added, "Since 4G is robust, we don’t see many use cases or applications we need to support with 5G.” 

Last May, I reported similar thoughts from Telefonica CTO Enrico Blanco. In November, DT CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn,  FT/Orange SVP Arnaud Vamparys, and BT CEO Gavin Patterson chimed in. The politicians & marketers screamed "5G Revolution." The engineers knew better. 

Andrus Anders and Roberto Viola at the EU, as well as Jessica Rosenworcel & Ajit Pai in the U.S., are still lying to themselves and too proud to face their errors.

Latency:  Ericsson has promised LTE latency of 9 ms in 2018. AT&T's 5G latency is 9-11 ms.

Speed: 4G LTE 2018 is hundreds of megabits, peaking over a gigabit. 90% of 5G on the way is midband, the same hundreds of megabits. Only 10-20% of the first few years will be millimeter wave, often a gigabit.

Applications: 5G's main application around the world will be more capacity, a good thing for telcos. But most of the other claims are b______. 

  • Connected cars are already on the road, using lidar & radar, not the phone network. Xu points out, “even today we have the technology that can support autonomous driving”.
  • The talk of remote surgery is totally ridiculous unless you believe in operating from the beach. The wireless part of the transmission is only a small part of the speed.   From the local connection to the operating room will be 20-50 ms. Whether the wireless is 2, 5, or 10 ms. is a minor factor. 
  • IoT will rarely require speeds more than 100's of megabits. Most actually is kilobits. If there so many connections that LTE is overwhelmed, a local Wi-Fi or LTE picocell can handle almost everything.
  • VR experts tell me they are fine at 10-15 ms.
  • Outside the U.S., very little fixed wireless requires 5G speeds. AT&T and Verizon will use mmWave where they don't have decent broadband, about 75% of the country in each case. Nearly everywhere else, the telco covers the whole country with landlines.

"5G Revolution" is dead. Millimeter wave and Massive MIMO will be crucial to telcos going forward; midband spectrum will be important, running at LTE speeds and really LTE with a minor software tweak and a press release. Until 2018, it was called TD-LTE.

Verizon's D.C. rep, CTIA, has nonsense claims for 5G, based on 4G applications. 

 

 

 

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon will turn on the first $20B 5G mmWave network, soon offering a gigabit or close to 30M homes. The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while keeping capex at around 15%.

The Koreans, Chinese, and almost all Europeans are not doing mmWave in favor of mid-band "5G," with 4G-like performance. Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 10X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year. I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

The predicted massive small cell builds are a pipe dream for vendors for at least five years. Verizon expects to reach a quarter of the U.S. without adding additional small cells. 

In the works: Enrique Blanco and Telefonica's possible mmWave disruption of Germany; Believe it or don't: 5G is cheap because 65% of most cities can be covered by upgrading existing cells; Verizon is ripping out and replacing 200,000 pieces of gear expecting to save half. 

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 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.