Malladi 2003.5, 3.7 GHz 1800. 2100. 2300. maybe even 700 can work just like LAA. Qualcomm, Verizon, and AT&T testing convincingly shows that commercial quality broadband can be delivered today over unlicensed spectrum. The telcos are targeting the Wi-Fi bands and possibly 3.5-4.2 GHz.

The same technology can be used to recover spectrum in licensed bands like 1800 & 2100, Especially in rural areas, massive amounts of licensed spectrum lie fallow. It would be enough, for example, to deliver a true gigabit of rural broadband.

LAA (Licensed Assisted Access) uses a control channel in licensed spectrum. AT&T is rolling it out later this year. That uses a sliver of licensed spectrum as a control channel and connects in other bands for capacity. Qualcomm has a similar system called MultiFire that works for new entrants because it doesn't require licensed spectrum.

Columbia Professor and FCC CTO Henning Schulzrine, believes "All new spectrum would be shared."  Circumstances and estimates vary, but sharing spectrum usually at least doubles capacity.

 

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. 

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 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.