VZ ATT mmWave 2303/4ths of the U.S. won't even be available in the highly touted 28 GHz auction. There is essentially no spectrum available in the crucial 28 GHz spectrum band in the top 50 markets.

Verizon controls 76% of the 28 GHz band in the top cities (The red in the chart.) TMO has 12% and another 10% is spoken for. Only 2% will be available for auction. Verizon has 46% of the 39 GHz band and AT&T 30%. 

Stephen Wilkus, a veteran of Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent, calculates the 28 GHz auction will only cover 23.7% of the U.S. population. Much will be rural, inappropriate for the short reach of mmWave. .

Most equipment, especially mmWave mobile phones, will be designed for 26-30 GHz at least for the next few years. The 28 GHz band is the standard for the U.S., Japan, & Korea. Europe and China are going for 26 GHz.

24 GHz will be auctioned right after 28 GHz finishes; most of the band will be available but it's not clear when or whether it will have equipment. 39 GHz has a shorter reach and requires far more base stations, raising costs. All other bands have limited equipment available and probably will not work with many phones. The iPhone already has dozens of bands and it will be hard to add more. The only 24 GHz capable equipment I could find was a NASA funded research project. 

Making more spectrum available is a good thing, but a decade of experience has taught it is unlikely to bring in more competitors. Telecom is a business of scale and there are too many other obstacles to new entrants. Cable companies are the only likely U.S. exception. Spectrum is not their limiting factor.  

Verizon picked up most of this spectrum in the Straight Path.  At first look, It will be difficult for AT&T to match Verizon and almost impossible for T-Mobile or anyone else. T-Mobile has hopes for 24 GHz and demands that the FCC bring other bands to auction. (Chart from T-Mobile.) 

My opinion is that giving one telco more than 400 MHz in major bands is a mistake because it leaves too little for strong competition. That's why the Straight Path approval was a mistake.

Neither the FCC or any other regulator has a good plan for what to do if two carriers dominate. The one thing we know doesn't work is to "leave it to the market." Two dominant players are far more likely to collude than vigorously compete. 

Back in 2010, I asked Blair Levin, the lead on our broadband plan, what the FCC could do if two companies became dominant. He agreed they didn't have an answer. I asked the FCC Chief Economist the same question; he smiled and said: "The Chairman asked me the same thing." It's a very tough question. It means you can't solve the problems through competition and everyone in D.C. is afraid to think of alternatives. 

So far, only Mike Dano at Fierce has picked this up.

 

 

dave ask

@davescomm

Rethinking Jan 27: Coronavirus could invalidate all projections. I reported on AIDS for 2 years. This could be worse because it spreads in air. Let us hope and pray.

Details on all 5G phones, as prices drop to $285 ** All actual 5G networks worldwide ** Facebook ordered to repost Italian fascist page. ** Apple China sales down 35%** Qorvo sees 300M 5G 2020 & 750M 2023 mmWave <10%

** Bharti demands India Gov more than double prices and enforce cartel. Sunil Mittal "Situation is dire. It is a matter of survival for everyone." ** Wi-Fi 6 meets ITU 5G criteria @stephenjcrowley ** Samsung $8B for Chinese memory plants ** Morgan paying billions for Altice fiber

Dec 10 Sprint bringing $300-500 5G phones to US 2020. Nokia, Lenovo, HMD ** H., Apple, and AMD doing 5 nm test runs on TSMC's 5 nm. Early results are 15-30% better than 7 nm ** AT&T low-band 5G built to >65% US. Speeds slower than 4G at launch. ** 

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. ** Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

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Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers, especially when you find an error. daveb@dslprime.com

Also see

analysisbranch.com,

fastnet.news

huaweireport.com