T-Mobile talks up 5G fixed Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) to FCC

In a prepared statement to the FCC intended to buttress the case for the T-Mobile merger with Sprint, current T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert laid out the company’s objectives for “5G” as a home broadband option.

The claim is that this new fixed BWA offers performance better than Verizon and AT&T while being able to realistically compete with cablecos/MSOs like Comcast and Charter (as well as other triple play service providers that offer download speeds in excess of 100Mbps).

Editor’s Note:

Sievert didn’t say what technology and spectrum would be used, or mention that there are no standards for “5G” BWA and that fixed wireless is not even a use case for ITU-R IMT 2020 (real 5G) standard.  IEEE decided not to submit 802.11ax or 802.11ay to ITU-R as proposed 5G BWA standards to complement IMT 2020.

In the absence of a standard, T-Mobile didn’t say what specification they are using for their “5G” BWA and really haven’t said much till now about their roll out plans for that offering.  In August, T-Mobile said it would start deploying mobile 5G in 2019 with 30 cities named.

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Sievert explained that most people in the U.S. have few options when it comes to in-home internet and that their choices often include high prices and slow internet speeds. With T-Mobile’s 5G fixed BWA, millions of U.S. households would be offered high speed internet and create a competitive environment that lowers prices.

T-Mobile’s in-home 5G BWA plans include 100Mbps download speeds out of the gate, but would increase those speeds to between 300Mbps and 500Mbps for 200+ million people by 2024.  Sievert wrote in his FCC post:

New T-Mobile’s (merged with Sprint) 5G network will change this competitive dynamic by closing the speed differential between mobile and wired broadband. By combining the resources of TMobile and Sprint, the combined company will create the capacity and coverage to provide in home broadband services. Our business planning has confirmed that there is a large market for New T-Mobile’s in-home broadband offering at the anticipated pricing and service levels. New T-Mobile’s entry into the in-home broadband marketplace will cause incumbent providers to lower their prices and invest in their networks—benefitting all in-home broadband customers.

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T-Mobile says that its 5G BWA will only be available in areas where network “capacity exceeds mobile requirements and is sufficient to support the in-home services.” That should mean coverage in at least 52% of US zip codes. T-Mobile says they could have 1.9 million 5G home internet customers by 2021 and 9.5 million by 2024.

T-Mobile also wants to make 5G home internet available without the need for installation of devices by a professional, which would mean eliminating expensive setup costs. Their goal is to allow customers the option to “self-provision the necessary in-home equipment.” That’s the opposite of how Verizon’s new 5G home service works.

T-Mobile 5G home internet will also be available without contracts or strict monthly data caps, according to Sievert.

T-Mobile will cover 64 percent of Charter’s territory and 68 percent of Comcast’s territory with its in-home broadband services by 2024. In addition, New T-Mobile expects to utilize caching and other network optimization techniques to increase the number of households that can be served. In sum, New T-Mobile will have the depth and breadth of network to deliver broadband speeds and capacity to consumers across the country.

New T-Mobile’s in-home wireless broadband offering will provide consumers across the country with average download speeds of 100 Mbps. By 2024, New T-Mobile will be able to cover more than 250 million people with data rates greater than 300 Mbps and more than 200 million people at greater than 500 Mbps.

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5G hotspot as an in-home option: Sievert also talked about allowing customers to simply use their mobile 5G plan as their only home internet solution. He explained that “New T-Mobile will also enable consumers to use their mobile services as a substitute for in-home broadband.” My guess is that T-Mobile could have an option within their wireless plans that opens up data caps for higher usage.

Currently,, T-Mobile offers 4G wireless plans that can throttle users after 50GB of data use in a month and also limits hotspot usage in many cases. For a customer to be able to use their mobile 5G plans for home internet, they’d have to remove those caps or offer some sort of tier that expands them.

Summing up, Sievert stated:

The planned service area of New T-Mobile’s broadband services will also dwarf the limited service areas of wired broadband providers. These speeds and coverage areas will be offered at a significant discount to the prices of traditional broadband providers, with monthly prices planned to be generally lower than traditional services

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Chris Milla wrote in a related blog post:

T-Mobile knows that rural broadband and broadband competition are two hot-button issues within the FCC right now, so it’s positioning the merger as a magical solution to those problems, without showing how its new claims match up with statements it was making less than a year ago. It’s the same thing that the company has been doing with 5G, and with prepaid wireless during this merger process — saying whatever the FCC wants to hear, with the reality a distant second.

What do you think of this gambit?  Please comment in the box below this article.

References:

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/109171182702890/Appendices%20A-K%20(Public).pdf

 

Yet ANOTHER false “5G” BWA Claim: C-Spire joins Verizon & many others!

C Spire is one of the nation’s largest regional wireless network operators. It has been providing wireless services in Mississippi and elsewhere for decades, and currently operates an extensive LTE network. It owns spectrum licenses ranging from 700 MHz to 28 GHz.

The company announced it is using Wi-Fi technology and unlicensed spectrum to deploy 120 Mbps downstream / 50 Mbps upstream fixed wireless internet services to consumers and businesses in locations across Mississippi.  C Spire is selling its service such that customers can sign up at $50-per-month service at any time, without any startup or equipment fees, and can suspend or cancel their service at any time for any reason.

C Spire is branding its service as “5G” as per these quotes from its website:

“Our service runs on amazing 5G fixed wireless technology that is capable of delivering blazing fast speeds without the arbitrary data caps usually associated with LTE or satellite services.”

“C Spire runs Fiber up to the edge of your neighborhood or business district. We then use 5G tech to connect a series of base stations that in turn provide you with high speed internet through the air.”

According to Mike Dano of Fierce Wireless:

Craig Sparks, C Spire’s VP of technology, said that the carrier is using equipment and technology from upstart fixed wireless vendors Mimosa and Siklu to deploy its new service. He said the company enters each new neighborhood by deploying fiber to a “hub home.” That home gets free internet service from the company, but also broadcasts a wireless signal via Mimosa equipment operating in unlicensed 5.8 GHz spectrum to nearby homes. Mimosa’s transmission technology uses a proprietary iteration of the 802.11 standard that powers standard Wi-Fi connections. For nearby homes that sign up for its service, C Spire installs a dinner plate-sized antenna receiver on their roof.

Sparks said that C Spire can expand throughout a neighborhood via wireless backhaul connections using Siklu’s equipment running in the unlicensed 60 GHz band. So, after connecting the first hub location via fiber, Sparks said C Spire can wirelessly “chain” additional hub homes to the network via Siklu’s backhaul equipment. Again, each hub home running Siklu’s equipment gets free internet service from C Spire.

“It actually increases a sense of ownership in the neighborhood,” Sparks said of those hub homes. “And then they go out and they are evangelistic” about the service.  Sparks added that C Spire can also deploy the service in ring designs, thus improving reliability.

C Spire owns the kind of millimeter wave spectrum and has vendor relationships that would presumably position the carrier to  join Verizon and AT&T on the forefront of FAKE  5G deployments. But 5G is not economical for this type of service, Sparks explained.

“The normal players, they’re just stuck in a business model around a mobility yesteryear,” he said, noting that C Spire is paying around $1,000 for each base station and around $100 for each antenna installed on customers’ roofs. That’s far less than what bigger vendors charge for LTE and 5G equipment. “They’ve got some serious competition that’s currently taking the lead on some price performance.”

“These kinds of players like Mimosa are really innovating in terms of the equipment,” Sparks said.

“We can’t just make this a 3GPP conversation,” he said. “The industry is better served by having some more options in unlicensed under 6 GHz,” he added.

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Author’s Comment:

At this point, it appears that the official FUTURE standard for 5G – IMT 2020- has become irrelevant as every Tom, Dick and Harry wireless carrier claims their new Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) technology is 5G.  No matter that BWA is not even an IMT 2020 use case, that the mmWave frequencies used are not yet approved spectrum, and that the focus of all six entities that are proposing IMT 2020 Radio Interface Technologies (RITs) is mobile broadband access-not fixed BWA!

The noise and hype is do deafening, I’m ready to throw in the towel on refuting the non stop, outrageous “5G’ claims!

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Addendum:  T-Mobile’s 5G Network

In a recent blog post, T-Mobile CEO John Legere wrote:

5G is a massive inflection point in the user experience. At full deployment the New T-Mobile will deliver fiber-like speeds. I’m talking about average speeds at a blazing 444 Mbps, covering about two-thirds of the country, with jaw-dropping peak speeds up to 4.1 Gbps!!  And you won’t have to wait long to see these amazing increases in speed and performance.  By 2021 our engineers are planning to deliver 5G speeds 5X faster than the LTE speeds being delivered on the nation’s fastest LTE network today… that is of course the T-Mobile network.  During that same time Neville (T-Mobile’s CTO) and his team will also be increasing our LTE speeds! 

That will unlock amazing applications and uses, many of which we can’t even conceive of today. It will make possible real-time interactivity from virtually anywhere, allowing for near instantaneous sharing and downloading of content from almost any location. 

This will transform the way Americans live, work, travel, and play. Nearly every business in America will use 5G to revolutionize how they create and deliver goods and services. And, every market, ranging from gaming to health care, from AI to transportation, from manufacturing to education will benefit. This merger is an important contributor to American leadership broadly across economic and social lines.

On the companies last quarterly earnings call:

“So, what do you do with a nationwide average of 450 megabits per second?” asked T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert. “Well, first you recognize that that’s way higher than most people get in their home broadband (access) today. So, of course, we can be a competitor in that space. And this is a market that’s incredibly underserved; 53% of high-speed broadband customers have only one choice for high-speed broadband in their area. So there’s a huge opportunity here for us to bring real competitiveness to that market for the first time.”

Author’s Comment:

Despite the extremely optimistic remarks about 5G from the above T-Mobile executives, no one from the company attended last week’s ITU-R WP 5D meeting where IMT 2020 was progressed.  Sprint, which hopes to merge with T-Mobile, did send one delegate to the meeting.

IEEE 802.11ay: 1st real standard for Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) via mmWave

From December 2017 IEEE Communications Magazine (IEEE ComSoc members have free on line access)

IEEE 802.11ay: Next-Generation 60 GHz Communication for 100 Gb/s Wi-Fi

Abstract: The IEEE 802.11ad amendment to the 802.11 standard ratified in 2012 created the first multi- Gb/s Wi-Fi technology by using the large swath of unlicensed spectrum at the mm-Wave band. While enabling multi-Gb/s wireless local communications was a significant achievement, throughput and reliability requirements of new applications, such as augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) and wireless backhauling, exceed what 802.11ad can offer. For this reason, building upon IEEE 802.11ad, the IEEE 802.11 Task Group ay has recently defined new PHY and MAC specifications that enable 100 Gb/s communications through a number of technical advancements. In this article, we identify and describe the main design elements of IEEE 802.11ay, including MIMO, channel bonding, improved channel access, and enhanced beam forming training. For each of these elements, we discuss how their design is impacted by mm-Wave radio propagation characteristics and present enabling mechanisms defined in IEEE 802.11ay.

Discussion:

IEEE 802.11ay, the next-generation Wi-Fi standard for the 60 GHz band (considered start of mmWave spectrum) increases the peak data rate to 100 Gb/s through supporting multiple independent data streams and higher channel bandwidth, among other advancements, while ensuring backward compatibility and coexistence with Directional Multi-Gigabit (DMG) stations (STAs). We use the terms DMG and Enhanced DMG (EDMG) stations to refer to devices that can support features of IEEE 802.11ad and IEEE 802.11ay standards, respectively.

Channel Bonding and Aggregation

The band allocated to unlicensed use around 60 GHz has approximately 14 GHz of bandwidth, which is divided into channels of 2.16, 4.32, 6.48, and 8.64 GHz bandwidth. The channel center frequencies for the 2.16 GHz channels are: 58.32, 60.48, 62.64, 64.80, 66.96, and 69.12 GHz for channel numbers 1 through 6, respectively [3]. Unlike IEEE 802.11 ad, which only allows for single (2.16 GHz) channel transmission, 802.11ay includes mechanisms for channel bonding and aggregation. In channel bonding, a single waveform covers at least two contiguous 2.16 GHz channels, whereas channel aggregation has a separate waveform for each aggregated channel. IEEE 802.11ay mandates that EDMG STAs must support operation in 2.16 GHz channels as well as channel bonding of two 2.16 GHz channels. Channel aggregation of two 2.16 GHz or two 4.32 GHz (contiguous or non-contiguous) channels and bonding of three or four 2.16 GHz channels are optional.

IEEE 802.11ay Physical Layer (PHY) Overview

Building upon the DMG PHY, IEEE 802.11ay defines a new PHY specification that includes both single carrier (SC) and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulations. As described in this section, to support MIMO transmissions and channel bonding while guaranteeing backward capability, a new packet structure is defined in IEEE 802.11ay. The EDMG packet contains new fields necessary to support the additional capabilities defined for EDMG stations, as well as a redefined training (TRN) field that is more flexible and efficient than the one defined in IEEE 802.11ad.

EDMG Packet Format

A single packet format is defined for the three EDMG PHY modes: SC, OFDM, and control. This packet is shown in Fig. 1 with all of its possible fields. Not all fields are transmitted in an EDMG packet; fields are included depending on whether the packet is used for single channel or channel bonding operation, for SISO or MIMO transmission, and if it is used for beamforming training/tracking.

Figure 1

Figure 1.  IEEE 802.11ay packet structure.
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Project Goals (derived from IEEE 802.11ay PAR)

Task Group ay is expected to develop an amendment that defines standardized modifications to both the IEEE 802.11 physical layers (PHY) and the IEEE 802,11 medium access control layer (MAC) that enables at least one mode of operation capable of supporting a maximum throughput of at least 20 gigabits per second (measured at the MAC data service access point), while maintaining or improving the power efficiency per station. This amendment also defines operations for license-exempt bands above 45 GHz while ensuring backward compatibility and coexistence with legacy directional multi-gigabit stations (defined by IEEE 802.11ad-2012 amendment) operating in the same band.

Timeline

Project Authorization Request approved March 2015
Initial Task Group Meeting May 2015
Draft 1.0 of the amendment November 2017
Draft 1.2 of the amendment April 2018
Draft 2.0 of the amendment July 2018
Final 802.11 Working Group approval September 2019
Final 802 EC approval November 2019

 

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Editor’s Note on Different BWA proprietary specs based on mmWave spectrum:

A few of the recent high speed fixed wireless broadband access technologies- many are not referred to as “5G”:

1. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Facebook announced they are working together to deliver high-speed internet connectivity with Facebook’s Terragraph technology through the development of a multi-node wireless system based on 60GHz technology from Qualcomm Technologies. Working with leading operators and manufacturers, this terrestrial connectivity system aims to improve the speed, efficiency and quality of internet connectivity around the world at only a fraction of the cost of fiber deployments. Qualcomm Technologies will integrate its QCA6438 and QCA6428 family of pre-802.11ay chipsets with Facebook’s Terragraph technology. This effort will help enable manufacturers to build 60GHz mmWave solutions using the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum and provide Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to offer consumers in urban areas access to high-speed broadband connections. The companies expect to begin trials of the integrated solution mid-2019. It’s based on a pre-standard version of IEEE 802.11ay, which is described in this article.

IEEE 802.11ay: Enhanced Throughput for Operation in License-Exempt Bands above 45 GHz – Sept 2019 approval is expected by the IEEE 802.11 WG.
http://www.ieee802.org/11/Reports/tgay_update.htm

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2. Verizon 5th Generation Radio Access; Physical layer AKA V5G.201 V1.0:
The radio interface described in this specification covers the interface between the User Equipment (UE)
and the network. The radio interface is composed of the Layer 1, 2 and 3. The TS V5G.200 series
describes the Layer 1 (Physical Layer) specifications. Layers 2 and 3 are described in the TS V5G.300
series.
http://www.5gtf.org/V5G_201_v1p0.pdf
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3. Huawei’s “5G” BWA Terminal (announced at MWC 2018):
Huawei’s 5G customer premise equipment (CPE) is developed based on the 3GPP standards and chipset architecture. It is compact in size, low in power consumption, and highly portable. As the smallest 5G commercial terminal in the world, it supports C-band and mmWave. In Seoul and Canada, there have been the world’s first wave of 5G subscriber who use Huawei’s commercial 5G terminals. Based on 3.5 GHz and mmWave spectrum, users can enjoy a fiber-like experience of wireless home broadband services with the rate exceeding 2 Gbps.
http://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2018/2/Huawei-Launches-Full-Range-of-5G-End-to-End-Product-Solutions

Dr. Wen Tong, Huawei Wireless CTO said: “The high mmWave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of E-band combined with MIMO technology to deliver exceptional user experience in a full multi-call campus environment. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to push the technology envelope jointly with our customer to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions.”
http://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2018/2/DectschTelckom-5G-High-mmWave-Technology

Finally, Huawei’s 5G BWA terminal (using mmWave spectrum) will be deployed by GlobeTelecom in the Philippines as per this article.

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BWA and 5G/Network Slicing:

Finally, it’s important to note that BWA is NOT a use case for IMT 2020 (standardized 5G).  That means that the candidate RIT specs do NOT have to meet any criteria for BWA send/receive or frequency spectrum used.

One IEEE member pointed out that with “network slicing” any high speed application can be a 5G use case.  The problem with that is there is no official standard for how 5G/IMT 2020 network slicing is supposed to work.  Yes, we know that ITU-T SG13 is working on the non radio aspects of IMT 2020, including network slicing.  But it’s from a reference architecture and functionality perspective, not a detailed spec for interoperability.

Here is IEEE’s position on 5G network slicing. and a survey article I put together.

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