China is just getting started installing what will very soon be over a million 5G cells. They will use frequencies from 2.5 to 4.9 GHz and deliver typical speeds of 100-400 megabits. What apparently is undecided is whether they will aim for ~30 ms (Verizon), 15-25 ms (Deutsche Telecom), or 10-15 ms? 

30 ms is the least expensive, achievable by replacing older LTE with brand new 5G NR. That saves 35% to 45% from older systems most common in the U.S. That can be reduced by to 15-25 ms by installing edge servers and/or reducing the number of routers. (Verizon intends both.)

No one in the west has announced plans to go to every tower, which would require about 10X the number of servers. Highly respected Minister Miao Wei and Xi Jinping have hinted China might do so, and later cut the latency in half when URLLC is ready.  Nothing is clear, especially because I have to read in Google translation.

Xi Jinping sent a message to an AR/VR conference, "Virtual reality technology is gradually maturing, expanding human perception and changing product forms and service models." AR/VR is the only major application today that requires low latency. The general opinion is that anything over 20 ms can cause nausea and 10 ms is better. Verizon's current 5G at 30 ms is considered inadequate for AR/VR. 

Minister Miao in March said, "5G technology applications represented by driverless cars will become an early application. The world is working to advance the development of driverless cars.” Experts in the West generally have concluded, ".'" Cars can't freeze when they go out of the range of the network, so they have to be designed to work without it.

Miao in 2016 said his goal was 25 ms in 2025. The technology, especially of Edge Networks, has improved since then. 15 ms is now economically practical and 10-12 ms not impossible.  5-10 ms will be possible when URLLC comes out of the labs although that isn't close. 

If in fact the car is controlled by the network, these lower latencies will probably be necessary. If the main use of connected cars will be information and entertainment services, very low latency 5G is probably not needed. Those services can be served by 4G or slower 5G.

Those indirect comments are provocative but not enough to make a clear prediction.

 

Carriers have told investors most of their 5G plans for the next few years, allowing a fairly accurate prediction of what will be in most major countries.  Most will deliver customer speeds of 100-400 megabits to most, with a latency of 15-30 ms. Less than 15% of the world will get millimetre wave, with speeds typically three times higher and often a gigabit.

 

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.