Millimeter wave map U 230Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, D.C., & Philadelphia/New Jersey - or a city nearby - appear to be close to ready to go commercial. Only Sacramento and Los Angeles are announced. This is not a firm deployment plan.

Verizon has been doing trials in eleven cities. They are running fiber and beginning to deploy in literally hundreds of other places. They will make final decisions based on the results in each city, marketing, and politics. They've publically committed to 1,000 base stations by the end of 2018, the largest mmWave deployment in the world. That would likely be enough for 3 to 10 square miles per city, but it will not be evenly distributed.

Millimeter wave performance differs enormously based on terrain, height, foliage, and even traffic. Verizon trials and early deployments are locations with different physical features.

In particular, they are choosing to include several different kinds of suburbs. I do not have information on whether the early deployments will be in the city listed, a suburb, or a smaller city nearby.

Readiness, including staff training, is absolutely required before turning on a city. Beyond that, marketing and politics become important. They will want D.C. as soon as they are confident it will go well, for lobbying clout. Boston area is also likely to be early. Much of their 5G research is there. 

Even in the industry, very few believe that Verizon is building the best network in the world. THey've committed $20B to cover about a quarter of the U.S. as rapidly as practical. Redefining  5G to include low and mid-band is confusing many, not just the politicians. 

This is the real stuff, millimeter wave designed to deliver a gigabit to most. 

 

 

 

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon will turn on the first $20B 5G mmWave network, soon offering a gigabit or close to 30M homes. The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while keeping capex at around 15%.

The Koreans, Chinese, and almost all Europeans are not doing mmWave in favor of mid-band "5G," with 4G-like performance. Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 10X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year. I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

The predicted massive small cell builds are a pipe dream for vendors for at least five years. Verizon expects to reach a quarter of the U.S. without adding additional small cells. 

In the works: Enrique Blanco and Telefonica's possible mmWave disruption of Germany; Believe it or don't: 5G is cheap because 65% of most cities can be covered by upgrading existing cells; Verizon is ripping out and replacing 200,000 pieces of gear expecting to save half. 

-------------------

 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.