Belfort Wikipedia
Gets ARCEP permission to test. Ted Rappaport at NYU has convinced the industry that high-frequency, millimeter wave wireless can work. But many questions remain. What are the effects of walls, windows, rain, and distance? We have only partial answers.

France Telecom/Orange intends to find out. They just receive approval for a year's worth of testing in the ancient city of Belfort. Much of the testing to date has been in Manhattan, Brooklyn and other highrise areas. Belfort is ideal for testing low-rise and suburban regions.

Millimeter wave is newer technology that's getting much of the early 5G news flow. It remains unclear in what areas it will be the best choice. In urban areas, the French are proving you can get enormous capacity at minimal cost by turning on a second SSID in every home gateway. MIMO is ready to go from 2 antennas to 8; Henry Samueli of Broadcom is working on 50 antennas. UCSD has a prototype with 256 antennas. Massive MIMO prefers millimeter wave for the smaller antennas but  you can fit many medium-sized antennas on buildings and even some towers. 

No good engineer doubts gigabit wireless is coming.

Thanks to TelecomTV for pointing me to this story.

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.

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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.