Urs Schaeppi Swisscom 240"We see traffic doubling every 12 months but we don't have quality problems in the network." Urs Schaeppi, CEO Swisscom, on the investor call. "Do we run into congestion problems? No, we will be able to manage it." Swisscom's business model is to offer outstanding service at a premium price, which they have generally done well. Schaeppi closely watches the quality of his wireless network.

At Vodafone, CEO Colao reports "60% of growth in data [but] our network utilization went up only one percentage point." He adds technology is driving down cost per gig by, "40% year-over-year." David Small of Verizon also estimates cost drops of ~40% per year. Depending on who is estimating, the move from 3G to 4G LTE reduced costs from 50%-90%. We're seeing a similar fall as telcos go from LTE to LTE Advanced. 

Capital spending has generally been going down and often is actually below depreciation. Most wireless companies have no net investment.  Telcos are now bonding two or three 20 MHz bands, for a corresponding capacity increase; four bands are now possible. The upgrade for "carrier aggregation" is mostly software in recent generation cell sites. The next step, going to two and four antennas (2x2 & 4x4 MIMO,) requires only a modest hardware upgrade.  

Around the world, wireless speeds have been going up dramatically since Jim Cicconi, AT&T's great lobbyist, insisted  decade ago we faced a "spectrum crisis."

AT&T in 2016 still has 40 MHz of essentially unused spectrum. Genachowski at the FCC embraced the fear mongering, despite strong protests from his own engineers. In 2009 & 2010, I was convinced the "Spectrum Crisis" was bogus. Glen Campbell of Merrill Lynch, as well as Stagg Newman and Scott Wallsten of the Broadband Plan, presented the data that convinced me.

The 1 gigabit LTE starting to deploy in Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia is another 300%-400% capacity increase before we even get to "5G."

dave ask

Newsfeed

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.