Deutsche Telekom may be the first carrier in the world to install an Edge Cloud, which they are doing at a remarkably low cost. By going further back in DT's transport network, they reduced the number of boxes required from 10,000's of thousands to hundreds.

A cloud like this - highly reliable but not quite as fast - would be a very small percentage of a carrier’s capex budget. (A carrier has the fiber and other equipment in place.) It would cut the latency on your network by 40% to 70%. Perhaps more important, the latency would be much more predictable.

DT started with an initial dozen sites, which connected to almost all of the country. It is also installing at as many as 900 additional locations in the regions. This is a Level 3 Cloud - on the carrier's network but several hops from the towers.

MobiledgeX, a DT subsidiary, provides multi-tenant software to run the cloud. CEO Jason Hoffman makes a convincing case that allowing other carriers access will quickly build the necessary volume. They are a natural partner in other countries.

One reason to start now on Edge is that doing it right will be challenging. An efficient system will be part of a distributed cloud. It will constantly monitor demand from users and determine what is served directly. It also constantly communicates with larger servers in a traditional cloud, pulling own the right resources.

Bandwidth is cheap but not free. A busy cloud will be exchanging massive amounts of data. Unless run efficiently, bandwidth costs will get out of hand while performance suffers.

Distributed clouds are demanding to run. That’s another reason to start today with a modest system. Your people will learn what’s involved integrating cloud into your network.  

Until recently, most of the industry thought Edge meant a box at each of the tens of thousands of cells for a large company. That's so expensive that I don't know any carrier committed to deploying a Level 1 Edge.

Vapor and friends have installed a Level 2 Edge system in Chicago. It is 1-3 hops away from the Towers, which adds 4-10 ms latency. One box may be able to serve 100 and even 200 cells, possibly bringing the cost down by an order of magnitude.

Most carriers are studying Edge but holding back for now because the demand isn’t proven. Except on private wireless networks, The lowest common latency will be about 15 ms. (Today’s systems are 30-70+ ms.)  Everything is crisper at lower latency but it isn’t clear the difference will be worth paying for. Streaming video - which Cisco estimates will be 75% of traffic - is virtually unaffected.

Autonomous cars don’t need 5G. Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle Platform and Product, points out, "These vehicles will be fully capable of operating without C-V2X."

Verizon and Telefonica are drastically simplifying their networks. Enrique Blanco, Telefonica CTO, is reducing their transport from a typical 8 hops to about 4 hops. Verizon’s Lee Hicks is leading the “One Verizon” effort, replacing 200,000 pieces of gear with 20,000 faster and more capable equipment. Each router eliminated shaves milliseconds.

The result is a saving of 10-30 milliseconds, sometimes more than the difference between LTE and 5G NR. That may be enough latency reduction for many applications.

At the modest cost of a Level 3 network, a carrier gets into a business sure to grow.

dave ask


Vivo is selling new the iQOO 5G premium quality phone for US$536.

Lei Jun Xiaomi "5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020"5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020" I say sooner

Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne: >1/2 VZ 5G "will approximate to a good 4G service" Midband in "low hundreds" Mbps

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 USS2/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 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

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


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.