Lowell McAdam 2012 239September 13's announcement by Lowell McAdam will go down in history as the date of the first real 5G mmWave deployment. True speeds of a gigabit are possible, rather than the 100-300 megabits more common with "Gig LTE." 

 We literally have hundreds of cell sites that we have up and operating and 8 markets moving to 11 markets. The global standards will be done we believe sometime this year. The chip manufacturers will have chips available in the first quarter next year for us to incorporate that are on the global standards. So this platform is not two or three years out the way it was a year ago, it's on our doorstep and I think it's going to be huge.

Fixed only at first, competing with cable. It will be 2019 or more likely 2020 before substantial numbers of mobile phones will be able to connect. Both Qualcomm and Intel have thousands of engineers at work and are optimistic about chip delivery dates. It will not be easy.

Verizon needs 5G more than any other company on Earth. Its business model is based on being better and able to charge a premium price. AT&T and especially T-Mobile have caught up in important ways. Independent testing by Open Signal has T-Mobile faster in many cities, although Verizon data disagrees.

The takeaway is the difference is small. Verizon's Serious Problem: They ain't much better. 

Being world-first in 5G will enhance Verizon's image even before it makes a practical difference in the network. That alone will more than cover the first two years' costs. 2% of $130B is more than any incremental investment. The stock is down $30B against the Dow - they need to improve their image.

With a CEO justly proud of the network he built and a smart, committed group of engineers, Verizon is moving ahead. With a $17B capex budget, Verizon can afford to take the risk.

"Hundreds of sites" in "11 markets" are not a test or a trial. This is it. In May, I wrote The $20B 5G Build: The Evidence, I believe the first report that Verizon had decided to spend $20B for mmWave to a third of the U.S., but even I didn't expect so much, so soon.

My current prediction is Verizon can have 10,000 +- 5,000 cells installed by the end of 2018 and 40,000 +- 20,000 by the end of 2019. That's very uncertain and I don't believe Verizon's own plans will be firm without another six months of early results.  

McAdam said 5G capex will be low for at least the next few years. He confirmed he can meet his goals within the (reduced) $17B capex level, at least for now. He made a point of of saying, "for now," leaving open the possibility of an expansion after ~2019.

After 2019, Verizon can choose to go incredibly fast. The systems will be field-proven and dedicated chips for cells and phones will be in production. They covered 95% of the U.S. with LTE between 2009 and 2011, nearly 300M pops. Lowell, now CEO, planned and built that network, by far the best in the world in the day. mmWave needs 10 times as many cells. I originally guessed a third of the U.S. by ~2022, but have little solid data. Barring engineering surprises, Verizon could cover > 90% of the U.S.   

18 months ago, the best in the business thought mmWave was 2020-2023. To the surprise of almost everyone - except Ted Rappaport - the engineers have done much better than expected. Using intelligence to direct the beam is working especially well. Beamforming isn't a new idea, but enormous progress is being made in using many antennas. At mmWave frequencies, antennas can be very small. 256 antennas fit in a module the size of a large chip. The algorithms and manufacturing will see enormous improvements, but the results are already outstanding. 

Lowell a few months ago said mmWave reach was often double Verizon's expectations. At Goldman, he added these remarks.

 I was in Seoul a few months ago and we were testing the throughput from a transmitter just under 2,000 feet from our location and we were delivering 1.8 gigabits over service over a millimeter wave. And we said just for the fun of it drive that 2,000 feet the opposite direction, get behind the building, so we had absolutely no line of sight and the throughput dropped to 1.4 gigabits.

So we have seen that the foliage doesn't impact as much as we thought, we can penetrate more building structures than we thought, we can go higher in buildings than we thought we assume six floors, we're seeing over 20 floors of elevation in the signal. So we're encouraged by it. And we -- I think the other thing that we've been surprised Brett is that the computing tower and the antennas are very different than anything we've seen before. It literally -- you think about the antennas that we have on the towers today, they are about two or three feet high. You have 32 antennas on the end of your thumb, it's the way this works today and the processing power that the computers and the antennas can deliver has helped the signal conditioning dramatically.

 This is the Dawning of The Age of 5G. The song from Hair is playing in my mind.


dave ask


The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

It does work! Verizon's mmWave tests over a gigabit in the real world. 
The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro outclasses the best Apples and probably the new Galaxy 10 or Huawei P30 Pro. Optical zoom, three cameras, liquid cooling, Qualcomm 855 and more.
Korea at 400,000 5G May 15. Chinese "pre-commercial" signing customers, 60,000-120,000 base stations in 2019, million+ remarkable soon. 
5G phones Huawei Mate 20, Samsung Galaxy 10, ZTE Nubia, LG V50, and OPPO are all on sale at China Unicom. All cost US$1,000 to 1,500 before subsidy. Xiaomi promises US$600.
Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
Ireland is proposing a US$3 billion subsidy for rural fibre that will be much too expensive. Politics.
Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
The Chinese giants expect 60,000 to 90,000 5G cells by the end of 2019.
China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

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Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. 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.