Neville Ray 19 to 52 FCC 230

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray told the FCC his 600 MHz band 5G would be 19% more efficient than LTE. That's the primary 5G band T-Mobile is using across the country. In the 2500 MHz Sprint band, the increase is 52%. (Chart at left and larger below.) It is possible these numbers will prove lower in actual test. Over 80% of the 5G being deployed around the world is low and mid-band. Generally, this is 4G hardware with NR software, with speeds closer to 4G than to 5G millimetre wave. Sprint & T-Mobile will be 90%+ low and midband, little faster than LTE. 

Millimeter wave, which Verizon is deploying widely, is about three times faster than LTE in the real world. See Verizon 5G: "I'm getting speeds of 900+ Mbps downstream 200+ upstream." AT&T is deploying mmWave to hotspots in dense urban areas, but intends low and mid-band for most of the country.

Why are so many claiming 5G is five and ten times faster? Many don't realize that most "5G" since the 3GPP Great Renaming in Spring 2018 is now 4G hardware with 5G NR software, not particularly fast. Actually, the majority of 5G is mid-band, 60% to 80% slower than mmWave and not very much better than LTE. Others use out of date LTE capabilities; since 2017, "Gig LTE" is delivering speeds usually between 100 and 400 megabits. (It's more than a gig in the lab, hence the name.)

Some are comparing actual average speeds of LTE with "peak" or "lab" speeds of mmWave. Actual speeds are often only a third of "peak" speeds. Others are using the 20 gigabit speed in the ITU IMT standard without realizing it is based on using three or four times the largest actual spectrum allocation, 800 MHz for Verizon. 

Some are presenting "politician's truths." The telco lobbyists with million dollar influence campaigns include former politicians who have dropped their standards. Many are just ignorant, and have missed the fact that nearly no network engineers agree with the lobbyist's claims. 

Sylvana Apicella of Ericsson provides an estimate that NR will only add 10% to 20% in FDD bands, the frequencies below 2100 MHz that are primarily used today.

5G, as Telefonica CTO Enrique Blanco noted, is an evolutionary step.  

From Neville Ray, an explanation of why 5G likely is 19% to 52%  better than LTE. That's much less than the impact of MIMO and Carrier Aggregation, 4 G technologies raising capacity 6-12 times. Ray is one of the best CTOs in the business and the facts in his FCC work stand up.

5G Spectral Efficiency

5G has higher spectral efficiency than LTE, resulting in higher capacity per unit of spectrum (Hz) s

Key 5G spectral efficiency enhancements include:

Lean carrier: optimized control signaling overhead

Increased Occupied bandwidth: uses more of the allocated spectrum block for traffic handling

MIMO code book improvement: better use of discrete layers for parallel communication

Interference Coordination Features: to mitigate degrading radio interference

Neville Ray 19 to 52 FCC 650


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.