Anything new, the marketing people call "5G." The 600 MHz system T-Mobile just announced as "5G Nationwide" is an (excellent) 4G LTE system with a few minor tweaks that add little. (5G NR.) I'm not the only one who thinks so; Telefonica CTO Enrique Blanco just said publicly what his peers are saying privately.

Why all the deception? The marketing people want to seem advanced. The telco lobbyists want to have a lever to get what they want out of government. Most regulators don't know enough about tech in the real world to know when they are being lied to. That includes the top Digital Society people at the EU, and two U.S. FCC Commissioners, one Democrat and one Republican. (Their tech people are excellent and know what's going on, but the politicians don't listen.)

The FCC folks are extremely smart, hard-working, and basically honorable, despite what you may think about politicians of the other party. Current Chairman Pai is a brilliant lawyer. But he doesn't know enough about networks or the business to realize when the lobbyists are lying. It's true the DC lawyers are often very, very good at persuading people. The best are paid $3M/year and more. David Cohen of Comcast earned $16M one year. You have to really understand this stuff to see where (many of) the arguments fall apart.

For example, Verizon is saying they "must have" massive amounts of 28 GHz monopoly spectrum or they can't build a 5G network. Sharing spectrum now can work and delivers two to five times the capacity. Verizon itself proved that with testing LAA, which they will use to take some of the spectrum from Wi-Fi. If done right, it can be fine, although Verizon pushed through a system with some gotchas.  

Pai's Chief Technologist, Columbia Professor on leave Henning Schulzrinne, two weeks ago told an audience of engineers, "From now on, all new spectrum will be shared." OFCOM's Boccardi in an unofficial paper suggests the same.  They are right on the engineering, but likely wrong on the politics. Verizon will probably get what they want.

The best networks need a certain amount of monopoly spectrum, for signaling, public safety, and reliable signaling. That's probably half the amount of spectrum the big companies have now.

Verizon is demanding monopoly spectrum in order to exclude others. They can and should design their new network for sharing.  They are actually the world leaders in the sharing technology.  

The EU people are worse, and the 5G, spectrum, competition, and similar policies show they have been bamboozled. Monopoly spectrum is now mostly obsolete. All countries want more wireless capacity.. so the right policy actually is to start reducing "licensed" spectrum in about ten years. Instead, an EU Commissioner is suggesting license terms be extended from 10 to 25 years. In 2017, that's absurd. The European telcos are claiming they won't build 5G if they only have a 10 or 15 year license. Any competent Wall Street analyst can make mincemeat of that claim. Nearly all corporate investment decisions are based on the expected return within 5-10 years, often less. Among other things, the people making those decisions know they likely are gone or retired in ten years.

Because the people in charge are usually thickheaded, telecom policy in the Western World has become worse and since about 2003. 

dave ask

Newsfeed

CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum US#2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 6 days sold 300,000 5G Mate 20s. Delivery begins on 8/16. 

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed

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Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. 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.