fish auctionfish auctionHigh reserve protected against giveaway pricing. The telcos got the spectrum they can put to use for $10B, about all they could spend. In two to four years, the government likely can re-auction the unsold spectrum for a much higher price.  Normally, it's a good thing to put spectrum to use. In this case, most would have gone unused if transferred to the carriers.

 Manoj Gairola echoed other reporters in Spectrum auction fiasco: DoT should come out of denial mode and introspectI disagree that "The latest Spectrum auction has failed." Nearly all analysts agree that companies like Bharti and Idea are facing serious issues with their balance sheets. Vodafone had to pump $7B in Vodafone India. They didn't have the cash to bid much more. They couldn't have afforded to spend more. The Indian telcos are struggling to finance the buildout on the spectrum they have bought; it would be impractical for them to buy and then build the 700 MHz band. Goldman Sachs had predicted the companies wouldn't spend more than $7B. "Higher debt levels following the auction and lower profitability from pricing pressure will likely raise industrywide leverage,” Annalisa Di Chiara of Moody's concluded.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, head of India's largest phone company, agrees the companies got what they needed. “Spectrum was one of the biggest issues that has been resolved to a very large degree. Lots of spectrum was put up on the table. Most has been picked up and more will be picked up. I think the rollout is now accelerating.“ Minister Sinha adds,  “I totally disagree with the statement that this spectrum auction was a `failure' (according to newspapers) ... I think Digital India will get momentum after this spectrum auction.“ 

The financially stretched companies would have had to spend $biliions for spectrum they would barely use for years. They can spend their limited funds on building today's networks.

In two to four years, the companies should be ready to put the spectrum to use. The government can look forward to a much better return. The shortfall is an issue for this year's budget, but a tax amnesty raised more than expected and will cover most of the extra deficit. The revenue foregone will be more than made up in a few years.

Reliance Jio signed up 16M 4G customers in 26 days, a kickstart to India's broadband. 

Quote from Moody's added 10/13

dave ask

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The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

It does work! Verizon's mmWave tests over a gigabit in the real world. 
The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro outclasses the best Apples and probably the new Galaxy 10 or Huawei P30 Pro. Optical zoom, three cameras, liquid cooling, Qualcomm 855 and more.
Korea at 400,000 5G May 15. Chinese "pre-commercial" signing customers, 60,000-120,000 base stations in 2019, million+ remarkable soon. 
5G phones Huawei Mate 20, Samsung Galaxy 10, ZTE Nubia, LG V50, and OPPO are all on sale at China Unicom. All cost US$1,000 to 1,500 before subsidy. Xiaomi promises US$600.
Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
Ireland is proposing a US$3 billion subsidy for rural fibre that will be much too expensive. Politics.
Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
The Chinese giants expect 60,000 to 90,000 5G cells by the end of 2019.
China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

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Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. 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.