Fastweb, owned by Swisscom, has announced the first large millimetre wave build (26 GHz) in Europe, intending to cover a third of Italy by 2024. That's actually more than Verizon's plan, adjusted for population. (Italy: 60M; U.S. 328M.) Verizon's current plan is 30M by 2024 to 2027, about a quarter of the U.S. Fastweb expects to deliver a gigabit 500 meters, using Samsung fixed wireless gear and all outdoor antennas. (That's ambitious.)

They are building a better network than Swisscom's own, I believe, which is sub-6 GHz and generally will run at a third the speed of mmWave. Xavier Niel is taking millions of mobile customers in Italy and will soon offer fixed as well. This is a competitive response, one more datapoint that competition, not higher prices, drives investment.

Telefonica Germany has a similar plan, according to CTO Cayetano Carbajo. 

He told a conference the company will offer fixed wireless to 25% of Germany, about 10 million homes. That may or may not be going forward. Madrid said he spoke too soon and it was still just a test.

Fastweb long ago was a pioneer with one of the largest fibre builds in Europe, but stopped after about 3M homes passed. Since then, they've done another 3M homes with fibre/DSL at lower speeds. They have cut a deal with Italy's government-owned Open Fiber to bring coverage to 90% of Italians, over 21M homes.

If Telefonica holds back in Germany, Italy will have a better Internet than the Germans. 

Here's the announcement. 

Fastweb relaunches on infrastructure and doubles Ultra Broadband coverage

PRESS  05/02/2019
By 2024, 16 million homes and businesses will be reached through a proprietary network thanks to 5G FWA

Fastweb, one of the leading telecommunications operators in Italy, today announced the launch of the new infrastructure expansion plan with the goal of doubling the coverage of its ultra-broadband network by 2024.

The expansion project will be financed by Fastweb's total investment plan of € 3 billion over 5 years, entirely financed with own resources. Starting this year, Fastweb will launch the deployment of a 5G Fixed Wireless Access network, thanks to which the number of families and businesses reached by links up to 1 Gigabit per second on a proprietary network will increase from the current 8 million - of which 4 with FTTH technology (Fiber to the Home) and 4 with FTTC (Fiber to the Cabinet) technology - at 16 million.

"Once again Fastweb stands out for its ability to differentiate itself from other operators by picking up the technological trends in advance. We are the first in Italy and among the first in Europe to have grasped the enormous potential of 5G for the construction of a fixed network ultra-broadband on which we will leverage to further strengthen our positioning as an infrastructure operator "said Alberto Calcagno, CEO of Fastweb. "A characteristic thanks to which - as evidenced by the analyzes of Mediobanca and Natixis - Fastweb is the only Italian operator to grow in the five-year period 2013-2017 (+ 18.4%) and the operator in Europe with the best performance in terms of EBITDA in the last 5 years ".

Unlike FTTH connections, the 5G FWA network uses the 5G frequencies - and in particular the 26 GHz band spectrum acquired by Fastweb during the recent auction - to build the last 250-500 meters of the network and bring it to homes - equipped with small receiving antennas on the roofs or on the balconies - ultra-performing connections entirely similar to those made with fiber, as demonstrated by the experimentation started in collaboration with Samsung in Milan in recent months. During the trials, connection speeds exceeding Gigabit per second were reached, demonstrating that in Fixed Wireless Access mode the 5G is a valid alternative to the FTTH infrastructure, with significantly reduced times and costs compared to traditional fiber networks.

The 5G FWA network will be rolled out from the pilot city of Bolzano, whose coverage will be implemented in the coming months and then continue on to the rest of the territory. Thanks to the expansion plan, the percentage of families and businesses covered by Fastweb's ultra-broadband proprietary network will reach from 30% to 60%.

Moreover, thanks to the access to the Telecom Italia network which is supported, following the mutual sharing agreement announced today, access to Open Fiber infrastructures, Fastweb will be able to connect with hyper-connectivity services performing even in areas where it does not have its own infrastructures, for a total coverage with ultra-broadband networks equal to 90%.

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.