It's clear it's here. Get used to it. Verizon and the three Koreans are taking orders for 5G phones and will turn on the networks in April. Almost half of Korea is already built, mostly with 100-450 meg speed sub 6 GHz. No other country is close to half built, but AT&T intends to get there in 2020.

"We’ve talked about 200 million pops (60%) in 2020 being covered with 5G, that will be a software upgrade."  CFO John Stephens 

T-Mobile, which had to build a network for the newly-acquired 600 MHz band, intends to turn on NR across most of the country. It's almost a meaningless gesture; at 600 MHz, 5G NR adds very little to performance. (Much of the 5G enthusiasm is meaningless hype.)

At MWC, Huawei announced they had shipped 40,000 radios. Samsung has shipped 36,000.

Add Ericsson, Nokia, and ZTE, and more than 100,000 radios have been sold.  LG in Korea has installed 10,000.  Verizon had frozen 5G customer signups for 6 months or so, but I believe is actively installing radios. (Many from Samsung.) 

IChina is well on the way to well over 100,000 cells very quickly. Nomura predicts China will install 172,000 5G base stations in 2019, probably as many as the rest of the world combined. The carriers and China Tower are planning upwards of two million radios, probably by ~2023. That would seem an impossible task, but the Chinese telcos have often done what others think impossible. 

Sterling Perrin and Gabriel Brown surveyed 147 telco executives, including many from the largest companies. 69% expected to deploy 5G by the end of 2020. Some of that will be mostly pr. No one outside of China and Korea expects much revenue before 2021-2023. Put another way, the numbers suggest just about all carriers in the developed world have begun. 

GSA counts 201 operators in 83 countries who are testing 5G.


Here's the pr, which includes the 10,000 radio figure.

Huawei Helps LG Uplus Build a Gbps 5G Commercial Network, Enabling New 5G Business Applications

 | Source: Huawei Technologies


Barcelona, SPAIN, Feb. 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- At the eve of 2019 Mobile World Congress, South Korean carrier LG Uplus and Huawei jointly announced the establishment of the Gbps 5G commercial network. The two sides have completed the deployment of more than 10,000 sites. LG Uplus and Huawei also cooperate to demonstrate the ultra-HD video and VR services based on 5G networks and enable new 5G commercial applications.

At the LG booth in MWC2019, LG Uplus and Huawei will jointly demonstrate 5G network services. As an important application of eMBB, VR will become a mainstream service in the 5G era and has been widely recognized by global carriers. Cloud VR will become a killer application. On January 22, 2019, LG Uplus showcased the world's first 5G Cloud VR-based game. It fully leveraged the capabilities of 5G broad bandwidth and low latency, and won high praise from onsite media and customers.

Huawei's 5G products are mature in commercial use and have been widely recognized in the industry. They support large-scale 5G commercial deployment in the world. On February 25, 2019, Huawei will release a full-scenario 5G commercial system to provide a simplified 5G solution, including network simplification, simplified architecture, simplified site, low power consumption, and simplified O&M. Huawei helps customers reduce deployment costs, support fast commercial deployment, and build the best 5G network. In Seoul, South Korea, LG Uplus collaborated with Huawei to deploy 5G base stations over 10,000 sites. Huawei 5G AAU is deployed on the network to provide continuous coverage of 5G network. The average data rate of Golden Cluster in Gangnam District exceeds 900Mbps, which provides customers with stable and high-performance. This also demonstrates the excellent performance of Huawei's 5G products.

LG Uplus in South Korea and Huawei have been firmly engaged in 5G cooperation, jointly promoting the 5G commercialization process, and dedicated to providing the best mobile service experience for users.



dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network. It will soon offer a gigabit or close to 30M homes. Thousands of sites are live in Korea; AT&T is going live with mobile, even lacking phones. 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 4X 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.


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.