Dina Katabi 230 Do not miss the Brooklyn 5G Summit, livestreamed by IEEE.  Arogyswami Paulraj of Stanford, perhaps the most distinguished communications engineer alive, is joined by Gerhard Fettweis (Tactile Internet,) MacArthur Fellow Dina Katabi of MIT and a dozen others. Executives include CTO Seizo Onoe of NTT, Marcus Weldon of Bell Labs, and an extraordinary panel on phased array antennas..

They are speaking to their peers, so they bring the most recent and important results. Four and five years ago, Ted and team presented the data that convinced the industry mmWave will work, with hundreds of thousands of base stations in the works now. Marcus brought an inspiring call for 1 ms latency, still to be realized. This year, Paulraj is bringing insights into 60 GHz, above the current 5G range. That's nothing: Kaushik Sengupta of Princeton is working with terahertz. 

The live event is invitation only, although I believe press and those in the field can usually get invitations. The livestream by IEEE should not be missed. Do catch it the first time around; one year it took weeks to post. (Reporters - Happy to introduce.)

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In Austin, May 15-16, Light Reading is doing the Big Communications Event. Likely interesting sessions include Gabriel Brown on Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications, the 1 ms 5G still in stealth, and anything narrated by Ray LeMaistre, who knows the issues and asks the right questions.

Co-located but independent is the 5G New Horizons conference with a strong lineup. Chin-Lin I of China Mobile is a standout. China Telecom is deploying 2M 3.5 GHz cells and I bet CM is doing more. Takehiro Nakamura of NTT leads the 3GPP RAN writing the 5G standards. Senior people are coming from China, Japan, and Korea, as well as Brian O’Shaughnessy of Shaw in Canada.

Both events are free to attendees who work for carriers.

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon will turn on the first $20B 5G mmWave network, soon offering a gigabit or close to 30M homes. The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while keeping capex at around 15%.

The Koreans, Chinese, and almost all Europeans are not doing mmWave in favor of mid-band "5G," with 4G-like performance. Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 10X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year. I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

The predicted massive small cell builds are a pipe dream for vendors for at least five years. Verizon expects to reach a quarter of the U.S. without adding additional small cells. 

In the works: Enrique Blanco and Telefonica's possible mmWave disruption of Germany; Believe it or don't: 5G is cheap because 65% of most cities can be covered by upgrading existing cells; Verizon is ripping out and replacing 200,000 pieces of gear expecting to save half. 

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 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.