Blind men and elephant 230AT&T is so big people in different parts of the company often have different opinions. An insider told me T was going to use millimeter wave widely, believing it would attract enough customers to pay off. He saw it as a land grab situation against Verizon, who is firmly committed to tens of millions of homes passed. "Whoever is first with 5G millimeter wave will win 10% to 20% of customers away from cable. We will be in a race to be first in many parts of the country." Their technical people have been preparing a large build. At least one thought the company strategy would be like Verizon, deploying quickly to get that first mover advantage.

The man with the money is dubious. He's more inclined to grow fiber home where they already have fiber nearby. It's "Very inexpensive." He wants to focus on building fiber to the 30M homes passed by U-Verse in district. They've already fibered 10M of them and are doing 3M/year. Broadband in district has been flat to down. They are getting clobbered where they haven't upgraded. So protecting a "fortress AT&T" is a sensible strategy.

The parable of the blind men and an elephant originated in the ancient Indian subcontinent. A group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their partial experience and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is. I've often had a similar experience trying to infer what giant companies are doing.

A friend at AT&T once called me, wondering if I knew more than he did about another part of his company.

The tone of this suggests they are still debating. 

John Stephens Seeking Alpha transcript

Quickly our network guys can do it, it works. If you think about fixed wireless using millimeter wave and urban settings, we have tested, we tested millimeter wave in Austin back in 2016 [indiscernible]. We've had one gig speed on these point-to-point connections, it has worked really well.

Challenges for us is that the network and the team can build it or they have the knowledge they can, it's the cost efficiency. Once you get that, if you will as I describe it the fixed wireless connection from the alley to your house, that's great you can do that, but you have to get it from the alley into the core network. And so you have to five on that alley or you have a collection of small cells to hand it off and in doing so building all that out can be very expensive when you're likely doing it in a urban market in a residential area that already has a lot of fiber or already has a lot of competition for the incumbent Telco or the incumbent cable company.

So, our challenge with regard to fixed wireless from that perspective from the urban setting is really about the business case and what you're marking get and how much it would cost to be them so to speak back all if that make sense.

Colby Synesael

So, not a technology interview, it’s economics.

John Stephens

Yes, the guys, the network guys are proven well, we're going to get speeds in Austin in 2016 on some point-to-point from business and you will see fixed wireless be used in that sense in manufacturing operations with robotic equipment and machines where business operates want to connect those machines back to a central point to manage and have information.

So, foresight I would expect we will see a lot of those application by the general residential broadband solution on the economics for Austin. Can you remember we have 30 million of our customer base mainly consumers that we build out for U-verse, so that means there is 30 million of our base that has fiber near the home, and so taking the last mile and adding it into fiber or using the network that is already there can give great speeds and great results without shifting to that other technology.

So, if you will take your last 500 feet with fiber and having that dedicated capability to the home, may be very inexpensive for us compared to the alternative ends and give the customer a tremendous level of service. So, our history, our collection of local exchange assets, our collection of U-verse investments are extensive fiber footprint across the country because of our legacy AT&T as well as local exchange companies, gives us an advantage in having a choice in how to deliver. We can do this a number of ways, we are not tied to just one technology.

dave ask


Vivo is selling new the iQOO 5G premium quality phone for US$536.

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


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.