"99 not mmWaveThere is a high degree of uncertainty," Ovum's Mike Roberts correctly notes in his estimate, but his 24M projection is consistent with other datapoints. (My wild guess would be lower.)  MU-MIMO and Massive MIMO - in sub 6 GHz frequencies - will almost certainly be more important into the next decade.

High frequency millimeter wave will be an important part of 5G many places one day and working on rules is sensible. The hype, from the U.S. FCC and the vendors, is so inaccurate it's almost funny.

The most aggressive promoters of millimeter wave - Verizon, NTT, Korea Telecom - have been clear: trials only until 2020-2024. VZ CFO Fran Shammo made a point of telling Wall Street that the actual deployment will be so small it won't affect capital spending for years. NTT CTO Seizo Onoe in 2015 said he expected his 5G deployments mostly will be below 6 GHz until 2022-2023 and confirmed that this year. Giant China Mobile just joined Qualcomm in a demonstration of 5G in sub-6GHz spectrum at Mobile World Congress. (Release below.)

The FCC's current effort to allocate 28 GHz and other bands for 5G is not a mistake, however. Verizon intends to put up a trial system within eighteen months. That's mostly for PR, but VZ is very serious about using 28 GHz to replace the 10 million lines of copper they want to shut down in the next decade. The technology will work, but the number of base stations and the related costs still need to be determined. The U.S. eff you attitude to WRC international standards is inappropriate.

High frequency 5G is a competition killer, at least as proposed by AT&T and Verizon. Unless near-monopolies are acceptable, very strong measures will be required to allow meaningful competition. Both Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Mike O'Rielly have been promoting 28 GHz very aggressively while burying in the sand about steps that would maintain competition.  

Competition on telco local loops is technologically obsolete. England could raise Internet speeds 100 megabits if they understood the old form of unbundling will fail. It may be that the cost of millimeter wave most places will make it a natural monopoly or duopoly. Ten times more base stations needing ten times more backhaul will be too expensive for most carriers. Building the 4-7 networks usually needed for competition to work well is almost impossible.  Existing telcos and cablecos - with lots of fiber in place - have an enormous advantage. 

"It's an incumbent's game," a major CTO tells me.

The sleeper here is the 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum around 60 GHz WiGig. That's coming in a few years in mobile phone chips and could be game changing.


5G will hit 24 million broadband subscriptions worldwide in 2021

Ovum’s 5G forecasts use the following methodology:


Ovum view

5G commercial services will launch in 2020, and there will be 24 million 5G subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2021 for mobile and fixed broadband services, according to Ovum’s inaugural 5G subscription forecasts released this week.

US, Japan, China, and South Korea will lead

North America and Asia will each account for more than 40% of global 5G subscriptions at the end of 2021, followed by Europe with more than 10% of subscriptions, and the Middle East and Africa accounting for the remainder.

Ovum estimates that 5G services will be available in more than 20 markets worldwide by the end of 2021, with services in all four major world regions. However, the vast majority of 5G subscriptions will be concentrated in the US, Japan, China, and South Korea, where major operators have revealed aggressive timelines for launching 5G services.

The main use case for 5G through 2021 will be enhanced mobile broadband services, although fixed broadband services will also be supported, especially in the US. Over time, 5G will support a host of use cases, including the Internet of Things and mission-critical communications, but Ovum does not believe those use cases will be supported by standardized 5G services through 2021.

A number of operators have announced plans to launch what they describe as 5G services before 2020, but these will not typically be based on networks and devices complying with 5G standards, and so are excluded from Ovum’s forecasts.

Ovum defines a 5G subscription as an active connection to a 5G network via a 5G device. 5G is further defined as a system based on and complying with 3GPP 5G standards, beginning with parts of 3GPP Release 15, which is scheduled to be finalized in 2018.

5G is at an early stage and there is a high degree of uncertainty around 5G deployment and adoption, including significant upside and downside risks. Ovum will update its 5G forecasts every six months.


Qualcomm announces 5G NR sub-6 GHz prototype system and trial platform

Qualcomm Technologies prototype system to test, demonstrate and trial 5G designs to drive 3GPP 5G NR standardization

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) along with its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., announced Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G New Radio (NR) prototype system and trial platform. The 5G NR prototype system operates in the sub-6 GHz spectrum bands and is being utilized to showcase the Company’s innovative 5G designs to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates and low latency.

5G will make the best use of a wide range of spectrum bands, and utilizing spectrum bands below 6 GHz is a critical part of allowing for flexible deployments with ubiquitous network coverage and a wide range of use cases. Designs implemented on the prototype system are being utilized to drive 3GPP standardization for a new, OFDM-based 5G NR air interface. The prototype system will closely track 3GPP progress to help achieve timely 5G NR trials with mobile operators, infrastructure vendors, and other industry players, as well as future 5G NR commercial network launches. The new prototype adds to Qualcomm Technologies’ existing 5G mmWave prototype system, operating at 28 GHz and capable of robust mobile broadband communications in non-line-of-sight environment, utilizing advanced beamforming and beam-steering techniques.

The 5G NR prototype system consists of both a base station and user equipment (UE), serving as a testbed for verifying 5G NR capabilities. It supports wide RF bandwidths over 100 MHz, capable of delivering multi-gigabit per second data rates. It also supports a new integrated subframe design for significantly lower over-the-air latency than what is possible in today’s 4G LTE network. The prototype system continues Qualcomm Technologies’ development and testing of their innovative 5G designs, which they are actively contributing to 5G NR 3GPP standardization. The 3GPP 5G NR study item has begun as part of Release 14 and will feed into Release 15 work items.

Qualcomm Technologies will be showcasing the prototype system publicly for the first time at Mobile World Congress Shanghai from June 29 to July 1 at the China Mobile Communications Corporations booth as part of their ongoing collaboration.

“The 5G NR prototype further demonstrates our leadership in developing a unified, more capable 5G air interface, building upon our long-standing expertise in delivering OFDM chips and technology with LTE and Wi-Fi,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are excited to collaborate with leading network operators like China Mobile Communications Corporation on 5G technology development and testing to support the work required for 3GPP 5G standardization.”

“We are happy to be working with Qualcomm to showcase the sub-6 GHz 5G prototype system at Mobile World Congress Shanghai,” said Madam Huang Yuhong, the DGM of China Mobile Research Institute. “This is a great example of the 5G technology collaboration we set out to accomplish when we announced the 5G Joint Innovation Center earlier this year.”

Mobile World Congress Shanghai attendees can view a video of the sub-6 GHz prototype at China Mobile Communications Corporation’s booth in Hall N1 booth A20, and experience video demonstrations of Qualcomm Technologies’ mmWave prototype and sub-6 GHz prototype in the Qualcomm booth in Hall N2 booth C38. 

dave ask


Vivo is selling new the iQOO 5G premium quality phone for US$536.

Lei Jun Xiaomi "5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020"5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020" I say sooner

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.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum USS2/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 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

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


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.