5G Korea 230Korea was one of the first to demonstrate 5G. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam visited Korea, saw it worked, and planned a US$20 billion project, now started. The three Koreans, working with the government, had agreed to a March, 2019 official introduction. Reports the date has been pulled up to December 1 are now confirmed by the Korea Herald.

The picture is a mid-band Samsung 3.5 GHz unit with 32 antennas. The unit is 1 meter in height and 23 centimeters in width, weighing 24 kilos. It's being installed by SK, in the Myeong-dong neighborhood of Seoul.  Several other cities are ready to go. 

Korea was the first or second testing mmWave, but I believe at least two of the three telcos are emphasizing 3.5 GHz. I believe the likely speed is one gig peak, 100-400 megabits typical

 The details of the SK plans are from the Herald. The rest is mine.

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network. It will soon offer a gigabit or close to 30M homes. Thousands of sites are live in Korea; AT&T is going live with mobile, even lacking phones. The hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.

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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.