Thanks to Mukesh Ambani & Reliance Jio's low prices, almost 300M Indians connected via 4G. Vodafone chief executive Sunil Sood finds, “Data cost dropped 90% and the cost of voice come down 58% in last 1.5 years.” That's the most dramatic growth in Internet history, I believe. In two years, India has gone from one of the most backward Internet countries to carrying more mobile data than anyone else. 

Jio proves companies can make a profit at prices from $2 to $10/month*, double and triple the number of decent Internet connections, and make an enormous difference. Four years ago, I had a few minutes with Carlos Slim and suggested there were two profitable models. Most telcos are high margin, relatively low volume. Free in France, Softbank in Japan, and now Jio in India are proving low cost, high volume can be profitable. I tried to persuade him the latter would be better for his country, as it is proving in India.
India also is connecting 650,000 villages with fiber. 300,000 are already in place. That will connect tens of millions more, possibly hundreds of millions.

Marked satire despite the quote and the facts being accurate. I read Sood's comments as implying cheaper Internet is causing a crisis for the operator and that the government should step in,  I think a great Internet for all is a higher goal.Voda is taking over Idea next month. It will have over 400M subscribers, the most in India. If a company that large can't compete with Jio, they need complete new management.

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.