US pop July 22 2017All telcos fudge these figures. The U.S. population on July 22, 2017 is 325,491,181 on the census bureau clock. Population will be less than 327M yearend. John Legere of T-Mobile says his LTE network covers 315M. That's 98%. They will cover 321M in six months. AT&T and Verizon both claim 98% today. Overlap is nearly total, but not exactly.

The U.S. has ~99% LTE coverage unless T-Mobile CEO Legere, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, and AT&T CFO John Stephens are lying in the Wall Street presentations. As soon as I saw Pai's proposal for $4.8B in LTE subsidies, I knew something was wrong.

I wrote FCC Plan May Reduce 4G Deployment (Not Satire)Since ~2010, telcos have been slashing spending on landlines even where they would be profitable. They aren't stupid and preferred to wait for the government to pay for everything. With the FCC now paying for wireless, they are cutting wireless spending.

The telcos know that the FCC usually will come to them no matter how much they are demanding. Almost no one can profitably serve extreme rural areas except telcos who have local offices and backhaul in place. Even $7B in stimulus funds was not enough to persuade new entrants to reach the unserved. The remaining unserved are extremely scattered; it's hard to find a town of 200 homes without service. Most unserved are in smaller clusters, often a handful or even a single home.  

~80% of those not covered lived in AT&T, Verizon, or Century/Qwest territory. Verizon refused to expand their network even if the government paid for all of it in the stimulus. Verizon, like AT&T, decided several years ago to go wireless only to about 25% of their homes. That is not because rural lines are necessarily unprofitable. It's just that the single wireless network is so much cheaper than maintaining both that Verizon makes more money shutting the copper. Most of the remaining homes with landline will switch to Verizon wireless.

Politician's plans for the unserved are questionable as the truths politicians tell.

From T-Mobile:  

In typical T-Mobile passion, we are not wasting any time and we plan to light up the first 600 megahertz site in August. We expect spectrum covering more than 1.2 million square miles to be clear in 2017, with actual deployments in many areas by year end. We expect to have several compatible devices by the holiday season, so our customers can take advantage of this right away ...  We continue to grow our 4G LTE network, which covers 315 million people today and we have 321 million in our sites by year end 2017. We remain the fastest network in America. We have been the fastest network in America for 14 quarters in a row and the gap is getting even wider.

But don't believe Legere's hype

"We will use a portion of our 600 megahertz spectrum holdings to deploy America’s first nationwide 5G network in the 2019/2020 timeframe." It's really 4G, a software tweak, and misleading PR.

dave ask

Newsfeed

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.