fallow field"Our goal is to put 1 gig speeds in our customers' hands no matter where they are on our network." CEO Randall Stephenson will begin quadrupling network capacity as soon as this year. John Donovan committed AT&T to deploy Gig LTE this year, 3x to 4x what they are running now. Most of AT&T's 4G network is running 2 bands and 2 antennas. Gig LTE is three or four bands, four antennas, and 256 QAM. 60 MHz allows adding 3 bands for a total of five. SKT, Korea's largest mobile carrier, is already testing five bands with Samsung. (pr below.) Verizon also has > 40 MHz of unused spectrum, enough to double their capacity.

"So you add it all up. We now have more than 60 megahertz of fallow spectrum that we're ready to light up

We'll be deploying all the bands simultaneously starting this fall when states begin to opt in to the FirstNet. The efficiencies we'll gain from climbing the tower once to put up multiple bands of spectrum, those efficiencies are significant. And we're going to see those cost savings and the network performance materialize immediately and then throughout the life of this multiyear buildout.We now have more than 60 megahertz of fallow spectrum  … our goal is to put 1 gig speeds in our customers' hands no matter where they are on our network." Randall Stephenson, Seeking Alpha

1 gig to all the cells is realistic. The standard radio for the transmitter site is now 4x4 antennas & four bands.  However, speeds are far lower behind walls and at the edge of the cells.  SoftBank in Japan is getting good results at the edge using Massive MIMO, but I'm not reading this as an AT&T plan to do Massive MIMO everywhere. That wouldn't be impossible; AT&T is in advanced testing with Blue Danube on an analog M-MIMO system. Randall's not an engineer so I wouldn't read too much into his words.

I also wouldn't infer from this comment a nationwide small cell network for AT&T. They are making a point of doing advanced testing and research, with all the pr and hype that goes along. Verizon plans a massive (~$20B) small cell build and AT&T has a plan to keep up if necessary.  Craig Moffett warns their finances are "over-stretched," making that a challenge. 

AT&T's Jim Cicconi convinced DC there was a spectrum crisis, now proven a myth.


SK Telecom Successfully Tests LTE-Advanced Five-Band Carrier Aggregation on its Commercial Network

- Demonstrates five-band CA as well as tri-band CA applied with 4×4 MIMO with Samsung Electronics ; Demonstrates LAA technology that supports peak data speeds of 1Gbps with Ericsson at MWC 2017


SK Telecom 

26 Feb, 2017, 21:14 ET

  • BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) today announced that successfully tested LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) five-band carrier aggregation (CA)* on its commercial network

    *SK Telecom's bandwidth resources as of February 2017: 10MHz bandwidth in the 800MHz band, 20MHz bandwidth in the 1.8GHz band, 10MHz bandwidth in the 2.1GHz band, 10MHz + 20 MHz bandwidths in the 2.6Ghz band

    Since June 1, 2016, SK Telecom has been providing 500Mbps LTE-A Pro service by applying 256 QAM technology to its tri-band LTE-A CA network. Also, the company has acquired additional spectrum in the 2.6GHz band in May 2017, securing the basis for LTE-A five-band CA.


    In addition, SK Telecom has successfully demonstrated the application of MIMO to its tri-band CA network, thereby securing the capability to provide 900Mbps data speeds.

    With the application of 4X4 MIMO - a technology that doubles the transmission speed - to a 20MHz bandwidth of a frequency band, users will be able to download data at maximum rate of 400Mbps per frequency band.

    SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics are demonstrating this LTE-A Pro technology at Samsung booth during the MWC period, and plan to commercialize it within the first half of 2017.

    "Through the demonstration of LTE-A Pro with SK Telecom, we have proven that it is not long before we realize the commercialization of 1Gbps mobile communication, a dream speed in LTE," said Park Dong-soo, Executive Vice President of the Network Business at Samsung Electronics. "We will lead the advancement of mobile technologies toward the very last stage of LTE evolution and secure a bridgehead into the 5G era."

    Meanwhile, SK Telecom also announced that it, together with Ericsson, successfully demonstrated Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), the technology that uses unlicensed spectrum together with licensed spectrum for 4G LTE radio communication. By aggregating 80MHz in licensed and unlicensed spectrum and applying 4X4 MIMO technology, peak data rates of 1Gbps is achievable. The two companies are demonstrating the technology at Ericsson booth during MWC 2017.

    Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Network Systems at Ericsson said, "With LAA, subscribers will be able to enjoy an even better LTE experience as unlicensed spectrum is used to boost data speeds. The LTE and Wi-Fi users will coexist in a fair way in the unlicensed bands and end users will benefit in indoor as well as outdoor environments."

    "With continued advancement of UHD video and virtual reality technology, there is growing a need for faster mobile telecommunications services," said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center of SK Telecom. "SK Telecom will pursue ceaseless innovations in not only 5G, but also in LTE-A Pro so as to provide our customers with the world's best mobile experience."

    About SK Telecom

    Established in 1984, SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea by both revenue and number of subscribers. As of December 2016, the company holds around 50 percent of the market, with 29.60 million mobile subscribers including 21.1 million LTE subscribers. It has reached KRW 17.092 trillion in revenue in 2016.

    SK Telecom has led the advancement of mobile technologies ranging from 2G to 4G, and is currently setting important milestones in its journey to 5G. The company is not only leading innovation in the field of mobile network, but also providing IoT, media, home and platform services.

    SK Telecom is determined to play a significant role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by achieving innovations and promoting shared growth with other players in the industry.


    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. 


     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.