Netherlands landlines 200In a move likely to spread across Europe, T-Mobile NL is now "unlimited." T-Mobile Netherlands breaks market taboos, is Tim Poulus' provocative headline at Telecompaper. Tim adds, "There's no doubt that the boards of KPN, VodafoneZiggo and Tele2 are now working furiously to come up with a response." Meanwhile, there's no growth in landlines, as you can see in the diagram from Point-Topic.‚Äč

If T-Mobile in Germany and across Eastern Europe also goes unlimited, nearly all companies except in Southern Europe will have to match. With 170 MHz of spectrum in the Netherlands, TMO can easily go to three and soon four band aggregation and meet any likely demand.

Nearly all wireless companies have excess capacity 95% of the time most places.

The gap will get wider as wireless tech is moving faster than demand. Cisco estimates a 7X increase in demand by 2021, including 33% in the fifth year. Capacity can easily grow 8-10X by then; the main limit will be whether they can sell that much. 

T-Mobile Netherlands is a classic challenger. They have 3.6M customers, to 5M at VodafoneZiggo and 7M at KPN. They recently added ~150,000 landline customers by buying Vodafone's landline business. The EU had ordered it divested as part of the VodafoneZiggo merger. KPN has a very difficult financial and competitive situation. Vodafone had to send $7B to India and is struggling. Meanwhile, growth in landlines is approaching zero. Both are vulnerable.

Antonios Drossos and Pal Zarandy have been anticipating an unlimited world and I think they are getting their wish.

 

 

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. 

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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.