Neville Ray Verizon skulls 230Neville Ray, T-Mobile CTO, thinks Verizon 5G is heading for disaster if they build mmWave to the planned 30 million homes. He wishes them "Lots of Luck" in the illustrations at left and below, illustrated with skulls. Top Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett has looked in detail at Verizon's mmWave and infers it is currently limited to under 200 metres.

Ray's blog (excerpt below) begins "5G is at the height of the hype curve right now and there’s also a lot of misinformation." On the blog, Neville has a striking very short video of how mmWave performance can be destroyed simply by closing a door. 

On the other hand, Swisscom/Fastweb on May 2 committed three billion euro to bring 26 GHz mmWave to 8 million Italian homes. They are sure they will deliver a gigabit 500 metres. Ted Rappaport of NYU, the leading researcher, emails me, "5G small cell operating on mmWave spectrum should reach 100 to 200 metres in a dense urban environment, up to 900 metres in suburban areas."  

Whether mmWave reaches 200 metres or 800 metres is the biggest unknown in planning for 5G.  

If the reach improves to 600-800 metres, most telcos should do more mmWave. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg is pressing forward. "We’re highly confident. It meets our expectations. ... Millimetre wave has lived up to our expectations." Hans is forgetting that last year Verizon CEO McAdam was confident of a gig for everyone. Verizon is now only promising 300 megabits, although some customers are getting close to the gig.  

Hans added, "We're very early on. I'm really excited on what I've seen so far." For now, Verizon is only using half of the spectrum. Some expect Massive MIMO and beamforming to drive major performance improvements. Adam Koeppe, Verizon SVP of Network Strategy, reported one connection reached 1400 metres. The 5G mmwave network is Verizon's most important initiative going forward. The results are material.

It's time for Verizon to release data in depth.

The 5G Status Quo is Clearly Not Good Enough

Neville Ray 

5G is at the height of the hype curve right now. There’s a lot of buzz and froth about this vital, important technology… and there’s also a lot of misinformation. I’m not going to add to either. Instead, T-Mobile is going to continue to be the adult in the room on 5G. I know, it’s uncomfortable for us too. Our 5G goal is not headlines or buzz or bragging rights. No, we’re going to do this right … and when it’s ready for our customers. 

verizon 5g treasure hunt map650

Case in point, Verizon’s recent 5G launches in Minneapolis and Chicago a little over two weeks ago. They claimed their second 5G “first,” essentially acknowledging that their first 5G “first” with made-up 5G (W)TF technology last year was not, in fact, a 5G first of any kind. Not to be left out of the empty-first-claim party, AT&T quickly reacted to Verizon’s news by trotting out more cities where they have “launched” 5G … but nobody can use it and they’re not selling any 5G devices. They want us to just trust them that 5G is launched.

They’re both obsessed with claiming first, but at the end of the day, it’s meaningless for consumers. In both cases, claiming first was more important to them than providing a good experience. Why? Because both of their long-term spectrum strategies have severe limitations, so they’re focused on bragging rights instead.

Verizon’s mmWave-only 5G plan is only for the few. And it will never reach rural America. Verizon’s launch gave everyone a look at the 5G experience they’ll be charging an extra $10 a month for – and, no surprise – coverage is very spotty and unreliable. Verizon won’t publish a coverage map or acknowledge how limited their strategy really is, but people quickly found that Verizon’s 5G was awfully hard to find, barely available at the places it was promised to be available, dropping repeatedly to 4G and disappeared if they stepped into a building. Their rollout was called a “rush job” and “…confusing. Frustrating. Absolutely insane.”

It will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments. (Emphasis added)


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.