BhartiCEO of world #3 Bharti, says, "You build one massive network from which everyone is served." Billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal has 340M million customers across Asia and Africa. "The current system of building networks for each operator needs to be completely dismantled," he tells Economic Times. "Far too much wastage is happening. Netcos and mobile companies should separate themselves. Spectrum should be pooled in a netco. Your spectrum efficiency rises significantly. The need for base stations is halved immediately. The time for a license and 500,000 base stations creating a value is over."

With wireless no longer growing explosively, most countries can't afford to build so many networks. “The density of expenses in terms of capex, spectrum is going up, whereas revenue is tapering off." Vodafone's Vittorio Colao and Stéphane Richard of France Telecom/Orange both are demanding the EU get rid of some competitors - preferably all of them. Colao thinks all but one or two mobile companies can't survive. Every executive at U.S. telcos believes either Sprint or T-Mobile need to disappear. 

One network is much cheaper than two; two cheaper than the four to seven usually needed for strong competition. 

dave askAugust 2018 Verizon's $20B 5G build is starting to add customers in 2018. Gigabit LTE & Massive MIMO became real in 2017 and enow expanding worldwide. Almost all the other "5G" is mid-band, 70%-90% slower + hype. Europe is mostly pr. The term 5G has been bastardized, unfortunately.

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor. I always want to hear from you, especially if you catch a mistake.

-------------------

 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.