Karl Bode discovered that AT&T doesn't think 5G matters, at least to consumers. In return for eliminating regulations, the US telcos nominally provide all the information consumers need to make a good choice and the FCC needs to make sensible regulation. But as consumer groups and Congressmen alike demand accurate broadband maps, AT&T is resisting bitterly.

Require mobile providers to report on their broadband networks by speed capability rather than technology. The record reflects that speed is more important to consumers than the air interface used to provide it. AT&T therefore proposes that the Commission require mobile providers to report their mobile voice and broadband coverage with coverage maps depicting two service levels: (1) voice and broadband service below 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, and (2) voice and broadband service at or above 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

Since the NR air interface is AT&T's definition of 5G, if that doesn't matter, neither does 5G. That's true in one sense - good 4G LTE matches the performance of 5G in low and mid-bands.

In addition, the AT&T comments were inappropriate. So I filed a rebuttal:

I am submitting these comments as an individual with experience with broadband since 1999. I have written a book on DSL and am wrapping up a book on 5G. I have written over 2,000 news reports on telecom, including hundreds on wireless. At the invitation of the FCC OET, I presented at two workshops for the Broadband Plan. My work has been cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Yadda, yadda, yadda. 

I decided to submit because AT&T lied in its comment https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1007604908368/ATT%20DODC%20Reply.pdf

"THERE IS BROAD AGREEMENT THAT IT IS NOT YET TIME TO REQUIRE REPORTING ON 5G COVERAGE As AT&T observed in its comments, it would be premature for the Commission to require wireless providers to submit coverage maps for 5G service at this time.17 There is universal support in the comments for this position."

 I did not find any support for this position in the first four comments from those primarily concerned with the public interest, something that would be obvious to AT&T's distinguished if they had bothered to read the filings. They did not address the issue of 5G coverage reporting at all, much less supported the AT&T position.   

In addition, this is total b______ 

"AT&T pointed out, requiring 5G coverage maps in this early stage of 5G deployment could reveal sensitive information about cell site locations."

AT&T's competitors can easily find out the locations of cell sites through several commercial services or by drive tests in the few areas not commercially surveyed. The AT&T lawyers certainly know this and are insulting the commission by making this obviously ridiculous claim. T-Mobile provides public maps of where it has 5G. In France and England, it is standard practice for all carriers to report their tower locations. 

In addition, it is absurd to think that information should be hidden from the FCC because it might reveal

"customer locations, in cases where 5G is being deployed in high-band spectrum for specific enterprise customers." 

Fewer than 1 in 1,000 customers in Korea, the world leader in 5G, fit the description of "high-band spectrum for specific enterprise customers." I strongly doubt the figure will be higher in the US, but cannot be definitive because AT&T and peers hide even basic deployment and subscriber information.

Only a limited number of very large enterprise customers will buy dedicated 5G networks. Competitors almost surely will be aware of such large prospective customers and can confirm with drive tests.

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I would like to confirm the CPUC contention that propagation maps are highly inaccurate. Only actual drive tests can be considered accurate. I consulted on a wireless deployment across most of Vermont, including working with the network designers and propagation maps from one of the world's largest vendors of 5G radios. Everyone knew the tools were very limited. When the network was actually built, the reality was far short of the claims of the model.

AT&T itself does not rely on propagation maps but rather spends millions on field tests. If it didn't do that, it would not have good information on coverage.

It is highly unlikely that AT&T does not know its own network coverage. 

 

WC 19-195
WC 11-10

dave ask

@davescomm

Rethinking Jan 27: Coronavirus could invalidate all projections. I reported on AIDS for 2 years. This could be worse because it spreads in air. Let us hope and pray.

Details on all 5G phones, as prices drop to $285 ** All actual 5G networks worldwide ** Facebook ordered to repost Italian fascist page. ** Apple China sales down 35%** Qorvo sees 300M 5G 2020 & 750M 2023 mmWave <10%

** Bharti demands India Gov more than double prices and enforce cartel. Sunil Mittal "Situation is dire. It is a matter of survival for everyone." ** Wi-Fi 6 meets ITU 5G criteria @stephenjcrowley ** Samsung $8B for Chinese memory plants ** Morgan paying billions for Altice fiber

Dec 10 Sprint bringing $300-500 5G phones to US 2020. Nokia, Lenovo, HMD ** H., Apple, and AMD doing 5 nm test runs on TSMC's 5 nm. Early results are 15-30% better than 7 nm ** AT&T low-band 5G built to >65% US. Speeds slower than 4G at launch. ** 

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. ** Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

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Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers and say thank you when you find an error. daveb@dslprime.com

Also see

analysisbranch.com,

fastnet.news

huaweireport.com