WiFi is an existential threat to telco revenue so they are fighting back in many ways. "5G-for-all presents the opportunity to kill free WiFi and instead charge users for every data packet they send or receive," Colin Johnson reports at EE Times. The implications Johnson heard at an Intel event inspired his title, 5G the Free WiFi Killer. The speakers were Verizon VP Bin Shin, SK Telecom CTO Alex Choi and Ericsson VP Paul McNamara. 

Johnson is on target that eviscerating WiFi is a crucial goal of the giant telcos. I'm not as confident as the author that high-powered, all-encompassing home gateways mean the end of free WiFi  The danger is currently unproven but we certainly need to avert the possibility. The more immediate danger is the telcos want to "Enclose" half or more of the WiFi spectrum. An important Wall Street Journal article by Thomas Gryta and Ryan Knutson has made this a top of mind issue in Washington. They conclude with Harold Feld's comment that Wi-Fi is too important to give carriers the ability to slowly strangle it.

50-70% of wireless traffic now goes over WiFi, a figure that will increase as faster WiFi routers become common and more home gateways are configured to share unused bandwidth. The telcos are working in closed industry fora, making a mockery of the U.S. and EU commitment to an open Internet and the "multi-stakeholder."

At 3GPP, with no public participation, they are defining LTE-U/LAA as "LTE spectrum owners only." The system is designed to dedicate 40 MHz channels of current WiFi spectrum to each of the 4 telcos - or more. The telco proposed standard allows a telco to use more than the single 40 MHz channel.  

We badly need to get a consumer voice in these groups. I've raised the issue to Larry Strickling (U.S. Gov) and Kathy Brown (ISOC). vocal supporters of "multi-stakeholder." The decisions being made in these groups will have more impact on consumers than the limited scope of the ITU/ICANN debate. I'm only one voice and I hope more speak up on the importance of the public interest. 

Much more to come on this story.

dave ask


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


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.