In 60-90 days, expect to see the 835 in the Samsung Galaxy 8, the Xiaomi MI 6, and phones from HTC and LG. Phones with a good connection will usually deliver hundreds of megabits. Behind some walls or at the cell edge, speeds can go down 95%.     

T-Mobile has a dramatic video of testing over 900 megabits with "an unreleased phone." It's embedded below or just click on the picture to the left. In Tokyo, Huawei's LTE ran at over a gig for the two day show. They are working with British Telecom on a 2 gigabit version using more spectrum. 

Both Sprint and T-Mobile have deployed 50-60 MHz of spectrum (three carrier aggregation) and advanced coding (256 QAM.) Tyrone Beckwith testing T-Mobile has found speeds more than doubling with 256 QAM and 4x4 MIMO, apparently with 20 MHz. When the MIMO and three/four carriers are combined, the cell will be served with something close to a gigabit. Ray speaks of four antenna MIMO, which is already working at True in Thailand, Telus in Canada, and T-Mobile. Saw speaks of "Massive MIMO," 64-128 antennas that Sprint parent Softbank is deploying by the thousand in Japan. That's a 3X to 10X further improvement. 

Saw has 160 MHz in most cities across the U.S. but so far has only deployed 40-60 MHz. Sprint has extraordinary potential capacity. T-Mobile is more limited, with 40-80 MHz most places.  Telstra in Australia and SK in Korea thought they'd be at the gigabit in 2016 but the Qualcomm chip was delayed. No one doubts the technology will work, but deployment in 2017 will probably be limited everywhere. Only high end phones will have all the features. 

Verizon is being quiet but their research is advanced.

Mike Dano of Fierce is hosting a breakfast at CES on January 6 with Ray and Saw's colleague G√ľnther Ottendorfer. I wish I were there and could ask for more details. I'd like to understand what brings down the peak speed to a user when the cell is uncongested; performance differences between 4x4 and Massive MIMO; and an estimate of when this performance will come to less expensive phones. Looks like a good event.

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.