AT&T mobile will be distinctly inferior to Verizon for years. The practical difference will likely be small, but AT&T is gambling people won't choose Verizon. While a handful of hotspots will go mmWave, AT&T's Andrew Fuetsch said mmWave will only be used in hotspots. Most of the "5G" network will be low and mid-band.

      Over strong objections of their technical staff, AT&T has decided not to build millimeter wave 5G widely. Instead, they will use lower spectrum bands with 70% to 90% less capacity. 

      Almost certainly, the United States will now have only one high-performance 5G network; almost everything else will be 4G LTE with a software tweak and a massive publicity campaign. Every engineer building networks knew this was hogwash. MWC in Barcelona was dominated by emperors without clothes. See.

     What seemed like silly semantics and a cheap pr campaign is now proving to have real-world consequences.

AT&T has decided customers will not understand the difference between their 4G-style network and Verizon's true gigabit mmWave. If AT&T was not able to call their relatively slow network "5G," they almost definitely would have built mmWave. 

    The U.S. government is one of the only non-corporate members of the 3GPP standards group. We should have been screaming holy hell early this year when 3GPP decided to call almost all the 4G set to be deployed 5G.

     AT&T had been a pioneer in 5G research when 5G meant mmWave capable of going to 20 gigabits. They offered $2B for the Straight Path 28 GHz spectrum but were outbid by Verizon. Until now, AT&T told us they would build widely in the 39 GHz spectrum they own.

     The cutback by AT&T demonstrates that Ajit Pai also made a severe error allowing Verizon to purchase 800 MHz of Straight Path spectrum. 5G mmWave is designed to work well in 400 MHz and Verizon would have been willing to let the second 400 MHz go to someone else, probably AT&T. 

   Today's 5G gear is designed for 28 GHz; the European 26 GHz is not supported by the new Qualcomm modem, although that will probably be remedied soon. No phone is likely to support AT&T's 39 GHz unless specially ordered.

    The soon to be auctioned 24 GHz is also unsupported. That means it is unlikely to be used for years. Pai will declare it a great victory, but the government would collect ?billions more if the auction were delayed.

     Fortunately, 4G and 4G-like networks will provide enough 

dave ask

Newsfeed

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 US#2/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 6 days sold 300,000 5G Mate 20s. Delivery begins on 8/16. 

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

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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.