Neville Ray Verizon skulls 230Neville Ray, T-Mobile CTO, thinks Verizon 5G is heading for disaster if they build mmWave to the planned 30 million homes. He wishes them "Lots of Luck" in the illustrations at left and below, illustrated with skulls. Top Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett has looked in detail at Verizon's mmWave and infers it is currently limited to under 200 metres.

Ray's blog (excerpt below) begins "5G is at the height of the hype curve right now and there’s also a lot of misinformation." On the blog, Neville has a striking very short video of how mmWave performance can be destroyed simply by closing a door. 

On the other hand, Swisscom/Fastweb on May 2 committed three billion euro to bring 26 GHz mmWave to 8 million Italian homes. They are sure they will deliver a gigabit 500 metres. Ted Rappaport of NYU, the leading researcher, emails me, "5G small cell operating on mmWave spectrum should reach 100 to 200 metres in a dense urban environment, up to 900 metres in suburban areas."  

Whether mmWave reaches 200 metres or 800 metres is the biggest unknown in planning for 5G.  

If the reach improves to 600-800 metres, most telcos should do more mmWave. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg is pressing forward. "We’re highly confident. It meets our expectations. ... Millimetre wave has lived up to our expectations." Hans is forgetting that last year Verizon CEO McAdam was confident of a gig for everyone. Verizon is now only promising 300 megabits, although some customers are getting close to the gig.  

Hans added, "We're very early on. I'm really excited on what I've seen so far." For now, Verizon is only using half of the spectrum. Some expect Massive MIMO and beamforming to drive major performance improvements. Adam Koeppe, Verizon SVP of Network Strategy, reported one connection reached 1400 metres. The 5G mmwave network is Verizon's most important initiative going forward. The results are material.

It's time for Verizon to release data in depth.

The 5G Status Quo is Clearly Not Good Enough

Neville Ray 

5G is at the height of the hype curve right now. There’s a lot of buzz and froth about this vital, important technology… and there’s also a lot of misinformation. I’m not going to add to either. Instead, T-Mobile is going to continue to be the adult in the room on 5G. I know, it’s uncomfortable for us too. Our 5G goal is not headlines or buzz or bragging rights. No, we’re going to do this right … and when it’s ready for our customers. 

verizon 5g treasure hunt map650

Case in point, Verizon’s recent 5G launches in Minneapolis and Chicago a little over two weeks ago. They claimed their second 5G “first,” essentially acknowledging that their first 5G “first” with made-up 5G (W)TF technology last year was not, in fact, a 5G first of any kind. Not to be left out of the empty-first-claim party, AT&T quickly reacted to Verizon’s news by trotting out more cities where they have “launched” 5G … but nobody can use it and they’re not selling any 5G devices. They want us to just trust them that 5G is launched.

They’re both obsessed with claiming first, but at the end of the day, it’s meaningless for consumers. In both cases, claiming first was more important to them than providing a good experience. Why? Because both of their long-term spectrum strategies have severe limitations, so they’re focused on bragging rights instead.

Verizon’s mmWave-only 5G plan is only for the few. And it will never reach rural America. Verizon’s launch gave everyone a look at the 5G experience they’ll be charging an extra $10 a month for – and, no surprise – coverage is very spotty and unreliable. Verizon won’t publish a coverage map or acknowledge how limited their strategy really is, but people quickly found that Verizon’s 5G was awfully hard to find, barely available at the places it was promised to be available, dropping repeatedly to 4G and disappeared if they stepped into a building. Their rollout was called a “rush job” and “…confusing. Frustrating. Absolutely insane.”

It will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments. (Emphasis added)


dave ask


The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

It does work! Verizon's mmWave tests over a gigabit in the real world. 
The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro outclasses the best Apples and probably the new Galaxy 10 or Huawei P30 Pro. Optical zoom, three cameras, liquid cooling, Qualcomm 855 and more.
Korea at 400,000 5G May 15. Chinese "pre-commercial" signing customers, 60,000-120,000 base stations in 2019, million+ remarkable soon. 
5G phones Huawei Mate 20, Samsung Galaxy 10, ZTE Nubia, LG V50, and OPPO are all on sale at China Unicom. All cost US$1,000 to 1,500 before subsidy. Xiaomi promises US$600.
Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
Ireland is proposing a US$3 billion subsidy for rural fibre that will be much too expensive. Politics.
Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
The Chinese giants expect 60,000 to 90,000 5G cells by the end of 2019.
China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

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Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results 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 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.