Vestberg of Verizon: "2G to 3G, probably 10x better to handle data and 3G to 4G 10x at least. And minimum, I would say, 4G to 5G is the same."
"Will we be able to keep up with wireless growth?" I asked Hans Vestberg back when D.C. was screaming spectrum crisis. "Yes we will. I'm confident human ingenuity will deliver what we need," he replied. "That's always been true in wireless."
Years later, wireless speeds worldwide are much higher; congestion in the developed world remains an exception. Telcos continue spending $billions on advertising to find enough customers to fill their nets.
Without much more spectrum or many more cells, improved technology alone will cover likely demand until 2024 or 2026. (My calculation.) Putting to use currently fallow spectrum and modestly more density, wireless networks are good until 2030 or later.
Meanwhile, most telcos, in most locations, will continue to have more capacity than they can sell. The talk about "shortages" and "crises" is deeply uninformed (most) or coming from the 2+2=5 gang of lobbyists.
What Vestberg said confirms what I heard from Paulraj of Stanford in 2014. He believed MIMO alone will yield a 50-100x improvement. Vint Cerf, Henry Samueli of Broadcom, and Andrea Goldsmith generally agreed at other Marconi events.
U.S. telcos spend $2B per year advertising because they need customers to fill their network. Verizon actually has been cutting capex but moved to "unlimited" in 2017 with minimal friction. In Germany, DT is actually adding LTE to DSL routers to speed things up, because they have spare wireless spectrum.
Of course it's not that simple, Verizon itself is actively densifying with mmWave small cells and investing $billions in fiber for backhaul. Vestberg sees that as part of an effort to reduce costs by $10B/year.
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And adding also, I would say, shared spectrum like the CBRS, the 3.5 gigahertz, which is a shared spectrum in the U.S. soil. So we're going to use that as well. So I think that, that combination puts on a good trajectory to handle our traffic, including then the densification and including the technology advancement that is coming. So -- now remember, every technology, I mean, So you have the step changes of technology improvement when you change technology. So with the portfolio of tools that I have, I think we're in a good position.