Karl Bode discovered that AT&T doesn't think 5G matters, at least to consumers. In return for eliminating regulations, the US telcos nominally provide all the information consumers need to make a good choice and the FCC needs to make sensible regulation. But as consumer groups and Congressmen alike demand accurate broadband maps, AT&T is resisting bitterly.

Require mobile providers to report on their broadband networks by speed capability rather than technology. The record reflects that speed is more important to consumers than the air interface used to provide it. AT&T therefore proposes that the Commission require mobile providers to report their mobile voice and broadband coverage with coverage maps depicting two service levels: (1) voice and broadband service below 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, and (2) voice and broadband service at or above 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

Since the NR air interface is AT&T's definition of 5G, if that doesn't matter, neither does 5G. That's true in one sense - good 4G LTE matches the performance of 5G in low and mid-bands.

In addition, the AT&T comments were inappropriate. So I filed a rebuttal:

I am submitting these comments as an individual with experience with broadband since 1999. I have written a book on DSL and am wrapping up a book on 5G. I have written over 2,000 news reports on telecom, including hundreds on wireless. At the invitation of the FCC OET, I presented at two workshops for the Broadband Plan. My work has been cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Yadda, yadda, yadda. 

I decided to submit because AT&T lied in its comment https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1007604908368/ATT%20DODC%20Reply.pdf

"THERE IS BROAD AGREEMENT THAT IT IS NOT YET TIME TO REQUIRE REPORTING ON 5G COVERAGE As AT&T observed in its comments, it would be premature for the Commission to require wireless providers to submit coverage maps for 5G service at this time.17 There is universal support in the comments for this position."

 I did not find any support for this position in the first four comments from those primarily concerned with the public interest, something that would be obvious to AT&T's distinguished if they had bothered to read the filings. They did not address the issue of 5G coverage reporting at all, much less supported the AT&T position.   

In addition, this is total b______ 

"AT&T pointed out, requiring 5G coverage maps in this early stage of 5G deployment could reveal sensitive information about cell site locations."

AT&T's competitors can easily find out the locations of cell sites through several commercial services or by drive tests in the few areas not commercially surveyed. The AT&T lawyers certainly know this and are insulting the commission by making this obviously ridiculous claim. T-Mobile provides public maps of where it has 5G. In France and England, it is standard practice for all carriers to report their tower locations. 

In addition, it is absurd to think that information should be hidden from the FCC because it might reveal

"customer locations, in cases where 5G is being deployed in high-band spectrum for specific enterprise customers." 

Fewer than 1 in 1,000 customers in Korea, the world leader in 5G, fit the description of "high-band spectrum for specific enterprise customers." I strongly doubt the figure will be higher in the US, but cannot be definitive because AT&T and peers hide even basic deployment and subscriber information.

Only a limited number of very large enterprise customers will buy dedicated 5G networks. Competitors almost surely will be aware of such large prospective customers and can confirm with drive tests.

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I would like to confirm the CPUC contention that propagation maps are highly inaccurate. Only actual drive tests can be considered accurate. I consulted on a wireless deployment across most of Vermont, including working with the network designers and propagation maps from one of the world's largest vendors of 5G radios. Everyone knew the tools were very limited. When the network was actually built, the reality was far short of the claims of the model.

AT&T itself does not rely on propagation maps but rather spends millions on field tests. If it didn't do that, it would not have good information on coverage.

It is highly unlikely that AT&T does not know its own network coverage. 

 

WC 19-195
WC 11-10

dave ask

Newsfeed

Vivo is selling new the iQOO 5G premium quality phone for US$536.

Lei Jun Xiaomi "5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020"5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020" I say sooner

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.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum USS2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed

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Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. 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.