VZ ATT mmWave 2303/4ths of the U.S. won't even be available in the highly touted 28 GHz auction. There is essentially no spectrum available in the crucial 28 GHz spectrum band in the top 50 markets.

Verizon controls 76% of the 28 GHz band in the top cities (The red in the chart.) TMO has 12% and another 10% is spoken for. Only 2% will be available for auction. Verizon has 46% of the 39 GHz band and AT&T 30%. 

Stephen Wilkus, a veteran of Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent, calculates the 28 GHz auction will only cover 23.7% of the U.S. population. Much will be rural, inappropriate for the short reach of mmWave. .

Most equipment, especially mmWave mobile phones, will be designed for 26-30 GHz at least for the next few years. The 28 GHz band is the standard for the U.S., Japan, & Korea. Europe and China are going for 26 GHz.

24 GHz will be auctioned right after 28 GHz finishes; most of the band will be available but it's not clear when or whether it will have equipment. 39 GHz has a shorter reach and requires far more base stations, raising costs. All other bands have limited equipment available and probably will not work with many phones. The iPhone already has dozens of bands and it will be hard to add more. The only 24 GHz capable equipment I could find was a NASA funded research project. 

Making more spectrum available is a good thing, but a decade of experience has taught it is unlikely to bring in more competitors. Telecom is a business of scale and there are too many other obstacles to new entrants. Cable companies are the only likely U.S. exception. Spectrum is not their limiting factor.  

Verizon picked up most of this spectrum in the Straight Path.  At first look, It will be difficult for AT&T to match Verizon and almost impossible for T-Mobile or anyone else. T-Mobile has hopes for 24 GHz and demands that the FCC bring other bands to auction. (Chart from T-Mobile.) 

My opinion is that giving one telco more than 400 MHz in major bands is a mistake because it leaves too little for strong competition. That's why the Straight Path approval was a mistake.

Neither the FCC or any other regulator has a good plan for what to do if two carriers dominate. The one thing we know doesn't work is to "leave it to the market." Two dominant players are far more likely to collude than vigorously compete. 

Back in 2010, I asked Blair Levin, the lead on our broadband plan, what the FCC could do if two companies became dominant. He agreed they didn't have an answer. I asked the FCC Chief Economist the same question; he smiled and said: "The Chairman asked me the same thing." It's a very tough question. It means you can't solve the problems through competition and everyone in D.C. is afraid to think of alternatives. 

So far, only Mike Dano at Fierce has picked this up.

 

 

dave ask

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The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

It does work! Verizon's mmWave tests over a gigabit in the real world. 
The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro outclasses the best Apples and probably the new Galaxy 10 or Huawei P30 Pro. Optical zoom, three cameras, liquid cooling, Qualcomm 855 and more.
Korea at 400,000 5G May 15. Chinese "pre-commercial" signing customers, 60,000-120,000 base stations in 2019, million+ remarkable soon. 
5G phones Huawei Mate 20, Samsung Galaxy 10, ZTE Nubia, LG V50, and OPPO are all on sale at China Unicom. All cost US$1,000 to 1,500 before subsidy. Xiaomi promises US$600.
Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
Ireland is proposing a US$3 billion subsidy for rural fibre that will be much too expensive. Politics.
Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
The Chinese giants expect 60,000 to 90,000 5G cells by the end of 2019.
China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

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Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. 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.