China 5G release photo 230Until today, China's 5G was officially "non-commercial" but building rapidly. The country is set to pass the entire Western world before the previous  Oct.1 launch date.  See 90,000-150,000 Chinese 5G sites go live Octoberfor an earlier report.* Probably for political reasons, Minister Miao Wei just moved up the date.  China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom will build rapidly. They will be joined on the China Railway Towers by China's Radio and Television cable systems.

China Tower has 2.2 million sites and expects the carriers to upgrade most of them in the next few years. Towers and backhaul are in place. The upgrade will only require new radios, usually less than 15% of the cost.  

Huawei, ZTE, and now Datang are ready with as many radios as the companies want to install. My guess is that the government will make available money to speed the build. The likely limiting factor will probably be the time required to train an army of engineers.

Equipment is in plentiful supply. Huawei has shipped 100,000 base stations already and does not need U.S. parts except perhaps for the phones. ZTE is selling around the world. The U.S. dominates the production of FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays,) used to replace several chips in a design. When sales volume goes past ~10,000, FPGAs are normally replaced by custom chips; Huawei is at that level. Where that's not practical, FPGA's can be replaced by a group of chips. In routers and other network equipment, there's room for an additional circuit board. 

A revitalized Datang will be China's 3rd 5G supplier. It was a pioneer in 3G TD-SCDMA but fell behind in 4G. (The company's TDD patents are foundational for 5G.) The government in 2018 merged Datang with Fiberhome, one of the world's largest producers of fibre equipment, which is showcasing the new Datang gear around the world.



*CWW has a figure of 70,000 this year, Nomura 172,000. The 90-150,000 estimate comes from China Mobile & ZTE, via China Daily. 

dave ask


The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

It does work! Verizon's mmWave tests over a gigabit in the real world. 
The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro outclasses the best Apples and probably the new Galaxy 10 or Huawei P30 Pro. Optical zoom, three cameras, liquid cooling, Qualcomm 855 and more.
Korea at 400,000 5G May 15. Chinese "pre-commercial" signing customers, 60,000-120,000 base stations in 2019, million+ remarkable soon. 
5G phones Huawei Mate 20, Samsung Galaxy 10, ZTE Nubia, LG V50, and OPPO are all on sale at China Unicom. All cost US$1,000 to 1,500 before subsidy. Xiaomi promises US$600.
Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
Ireland is proposing a US$3 billion subsidy for rural fibre that will be much too expensive. Politics.
Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
The Chinese giants expect 60,000 to 90,000 5G cells by the end of 2019.
China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

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Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. Meanwhile, 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 3X 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.