Netgear Nighthawk 230It's great that AT&T announced 5G and is moving forward. Unfortunately, information is so restricted that Mike Dano put quotes around "5G." If AT&T really were ready, they would be shouting from the rooftops. They aren't. Update 12/19 AT&T told Mike Dano they were using only 100 MHz of spectrum and two antennas. That will be much slower than good LTE. Also, people nor businesses can order the service even if they live in the right location. Consumers can only "express interest" and only businesses selected by AT&T qualify.

It refused to give any information about typical performance or basic details like how many homes are covered. I'm inferring that the performance is disappointing, although many are working to change that.

There is no charge for "at least 90 days," guaranteeing no angry customers will ask for their money back. Then they want US$70 for 15 gigabits, as expensive as LTE.

"The $500 hotspot will mostly be run on 4G LTE," Kellen writes. $500 is hundreds more than an LTE hotspot.

I doubt 5G is deployed to even 1% of AT&T's towers. There is at least one 5G radio in 12 cities, a near-meaningless data point in a network with 50-60,000 towers. Reporters should be demanding actual coverage information rather than printing spin.

With a public commitment to launch in 2018, the engineers had no choice but to turn something on. Otherwise, they would have delayed the public launch. Based on what AT&T is saying publicly, it is more like a trial than a deployment. 

The severe problems in 5G demonstrated in Maui are well known. Netgear Nighthawk hotspot  which could have larger RF and antenna components. Everyone was hoping for the gigabit in the 5G design. 

39 GHz is AT&T's main band for now. In many places, they will instead use the much slower midband 5G. 

80+% of the 5G in the next three years will be slower than a good 4G site. Believe it.

 

DALLAS, December 18, 2018

Mobile 5G Becoming a Reality in 12 Cities with
Rapid Enhancements to Follow as the Ecosystem Evolves

On Dec. 21, AT&T* will be the first and only company in the U.S. to offer a mobile 5G device over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network.

We’ve worked closely with our technology suppliers to reach this mobile 5G milestone. While the initial launch starts small and will be limited, as the 5G ecosystem evolves customers will see enhancements in coverage, speeds and devices.

“This is the first taste of the mobile 5G era,” said Andre Fuetsch, president, AT&T Labs and chief technology officer. “Being first, you can expect us to evolve very quickly. It’s early on the 5G journey and we’re ready to learn fast and continually iterate in the months ahead.”

Our standards-based mobile 5G network is live today in parts of 12 cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, N.C., San Antonio and Waco, Texas.

In the first half of 2019 we plan to deploy mobile 5G in parts of these 7 additional cities: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.

“As the ecosystem evolves, this technology will ultimately change the way we live and conduct business,” said Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. “We expect that our initial adopters will be innovative, growing businesses. They’re the starting point for what we think will be a technology revolution like we’ve never seen before.”

Early adopters will be the first to experience the NETGEAR® Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot on our mobile 5G+ network. 5G+ is built to provide a mobile 5G experience over mmWave spectrum, offering users a faster mobile experience than standard LTE. 5G+ will start out in dense urban areas, but if you’re outside of 5G+ network coverage you’ll be able to access the nation’s best network and 5G Evolution in 385 markets on the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot.

Through an initial offer, we’ll deliver select businesses and consumers our first mobile 5G device plus 5G data usage at no cost for at least 90 days. Next spring, customers will be able to get the Nighthawk for $499 upfront and 15GB of data for $70 a month on a compatible plan and no annual commitment.1

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual results the first four months have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. 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 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.

-------------------

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, millimetre wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.