Lewinski with bill text 230Timotheus Höttges of Deutsche Telekom, Sunil Mittal of Bharti, Gavin Patterson of BT, and Qualcomm’s Steven Mollenkopf are making wild claims obvious from 3,000 miles away. Ajit Pai of the U.S. FCC, as well as Andrus Ansip and Roberto Viola of the EU, need to hire staffers who know enough to catch the bosses' errors. I could add a dozen more. It is time to shout about the Emperor's wardrobe. We all make mistakes and perhaps the ones here will be corrected. 

Höttges, the first MWC Emperor without Clothes, wants $10’s of billions in subsidies and other favors. To get them, he wildly exaggerates the cost of building 5G. Verizon expects a U.S. (pop.326M) 5G cover will cost $50-$80B; the latest data suggests it will be less. DT's $400B to cover Germany (pop 83M) is something only a politician would believe. Another unlikely claim is that 65% of Germany will have 100 megabit fiber. 50% of the customers on a similar network in Australia (less 35b) don’t get 100 megabits and 20% don’t even reach 50 meg. http://bit.ly/NBNVector (Side note: Höttges told investors DT will have 14M lines of 250 meg DSL by the end of 2018, only a year or two behind schedule.) 

Mittal has built Bharti to 380MM subs. They gained share this year despite Jio’s $20B challenge. Remarkable achievements. But must the government subsidize a $9B man because his costs go up by 3% of the $25B market cap. Bharti is convincing analysts and reporters rich companies should be subsidized even if they don’t invest more.

Patterson of BT has said it’s financially impossible to bring fiber to most English homes. I don't believe BT engineers are any less competent than those at Telefonica and Orange, which have already fibered most of France and Spain. It's clearly possible without major financial problems. TEF & ORAN stock prices have done 60% better the last two years. 

Pai of the U.S. (and Democrat Rosenworcel) think mmWave 5G will offer 1 ms latency while Verizon and AT&T are building for 5 ms to 10 ms. I don’t believe any telco in the world has announced 1 ms. networks. Moving the intelligence to the edge (URLLC) is brutally expensive. He insists killing Net Neutrality will raise investments, but the evidence shows the effect, if any, is too small to notice. Most of the capex plans for 2018 have been announced and they are the same as they would be with NN.

However, I deplore the very cheap attacks on Pai. He’s a hardworking, brilliant lawyer. He does what he does because of his politics, not because of corruption. He took a courageous stand on immigration, which could have cost his job. http://bit.ly/Paicourage

Mollenkopf was busy trying to get a higher price for Qualcomm’s soul. He claims 5G will add $11 trillion to the economy in 2035, but almost everything attributed to 5G in his IHS “study” can be achieved with 4G, including by Qualcomm's excellent new 4G chip. (I double checked.) Any competent economist would conclude a study like this for 2035 is a mistake. Even five-year projections would be tough. Qualcomm engineers are the best but his lobbyists are as trustworthy as Bill Clinton discussing Monica Lewinsky. The LAA chip demonstrations prove it does harm Wi-Fi despite multiple time Q said the opposite.

Ansip and Viola of the EU are smart, hard-working and I believe honorable. They are either blinded by ideology or just don't understand telecom. They tweeted 5G will offer 10 gig connections. 1 gig is the target. 10 gig is the total system, split between many users. They are badly mistaken that 5G requires 25-year spectrum licenses at a "bare minimum." Not one of the telco CEOs who make that claim has said they will build more. They demand incentives for someone else to build, not very likely. Incentives are a mistake without evidence of probable investment. I've looked at the data and it proves no such thing. 

LOL at Viola's tweet that implies we won't have autonomous cars for a decade or more. Google has fully autonomous cars carrying passengers today in Phoenix and has ordered a fleet of thousands. "100% 5G coverage" is clearly not a "key condition." Europe will not have wide 5G at least until 2025. 2030 almost certainly will not be ~100%.

Hundreds of thousands of fully autonomous cars will be on the roads soon. They depend on radar and lidar, not the telco. If you haven't realized just how soon these cars are coming, do watch the video of Google's John Krafcik http://bit.ly/2GPm8XP. Unbelievable demo at 6 minutes. (There's plenty still to get right, but they work.)

I'm sure there were dozens more than the six I noticed. 

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon will turn on the first $20B 5G mmWave network, soon offering a gigabit or close to 30M homes. The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while keeping capex at around 15%.

The Koreans, Chinese, and almost all Europeans are not doing mmWave in favor of mid-band "5G," with 4G-like performance. Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 10X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year. I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

The predicted massive small cell builds are a pipe dream for vendors for at least five years. Verizon expects to reach a quarter of the U.S. without adding additional small cells. 

In the works: Enrique Blanco and Telefonica's possible mmWave disruption of Germany; Believe it or don't: 5G is cheap because 65% of most cities can be covered by upgrading existing cells; Verizon is ripping out and replacing 200,000 pieces of gear expecting to save half. 

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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.