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.


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!


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.

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

  1. Verizon, the other top 5G BWA boaster, didn’t attend last week’s ITU-R WP 5D meeting either!

  2. Are we in a brave new world where telecom/datacom standards are no longer needed? Note there are no standards for SD-WANs yet they seem to be very popular!

    What if no one paid attention to the IEEE 802.11xyz standards for WiFi? Do you think it would be “plug and play” with ubiquitous inter-operablity?

  3. What frequency bands are under study for the implementation of IMT2020 (5G)?
    The following frequency bands, which are already allocated for mobile communications, will be studied with a view to an IMT-2020 (5G) identification:
    • 24.25 – 27.5 GHz • 37 – 40.5 GHz
    • 42.5 – 43.5 GHz • 45.5 – 47 GHz
    • 47.2 – 50.2 GHz • 50.4 – 52.6 GHz
    • 66 – 76 GHz • 81 – 86 GHz
    The following bands will also be studied, although they do not currently have global mobile allocations:
    • 31.8 – 33.4 GHz
    • 40.5 – 42.5 GHz
    • 47 – 47.2 GHz
    The results of the studies will be submitted for decision to the next ITU World Radio Conference (WRC-19),
    to be held from 28 October to 22 November 2019 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

  4. Time to throw in the towel on reporting the status of IMT 2020 and non radio aspects of standardized 5G. Apparently no one cares! As you say the hype and spin is deafening and overwhelming!

  5. “It’s clear that 5G has become a marketing term for high-speed broadband over wireless. Even that is how Wikipedia defines 5G:

    In a sense does it matter what it is called, as these companies that are deploying broadband wireless technologies are responding to market need with available product? I am sure companies, such as C-Spire, are judging the risk of deploying a proprietary product versus waiting for a standards-based product in a couple of years. At $100 and end-point and, say a $100 for the common equipment, they can probably depreciate the equipment they are installing by the time standards-based equipment is ready.

    From a marketing perspective, it makes sense to attach a name that confers “better wireless”. When the standards-based equipment is ready, assuming that’s what they deploy, they will probably call it something else, like 5G+ or something.

  6. Thanks for all your comments, especially Ken Pyle. Due to the non-sponsored, no advertising status of this website I was the only author able to tell the true story of IMT 2020 / 5G standards.

    As one of you suggest I’m throwing in the towel on that since there is apparently no interest on the true status of 5G standards from ITU-R and -T.

  7. Hey guys, Let me start by saying I don’t know squat about any of this 5G stuff.

    I was approached last week by a fellow from C-Spire trying to sell me a hub home for their so called “5G service.” They’ve called twice since his visit and seem very determined. I read the agreement and it’s pretty straight forward. If you accept you get the service free, but you also give your consent to the company to enter your home if there is a problem with their equipment and service is cut off to the neighborhood. The agreement states that they will attempt to contact the homeowner. However, if you don’t answer their call, then I guess they get in with any means necessary (LOL).

    I would very much appreciate some advice here. Thanks.

  8. It doesn’t matter how much wireless carrier marketing is over hyping 5G, consumers like me won’t give a hoot as long as we know the carriers will still nickel-dime us on stingy data caps.

    Editor’s NOTE: No carrier has announced pricing on 5G or said anything about 5G data caps

  9. C Spire has launched its fake “5G” fixed wireless service in a Mississippi subdivision using millimeter-wave technology over the 28GHz band. Maximum download speeds reach 750 Mbps, and all the homes are within half a kilometer of a small cell or serving tower, C Spire said.

    The offering focuses on an 84-home Landon Place subdivision served by equipment operating in the 28 GHz spectrum band. C Spire’s equipment vendor is Phazr. In an emailed statement, C Spire tells Telecompetitor they are building the network so that homes are no more than half a kilometer from the serving tower or small cell. Currently C Spire is charging $50/month for uncapped service with no contract or install fees.

    “We use areas like this residential subdivision to continue our efforts to deliver on the promise of moving Mississippi forward with ground-breaking internet access for consumers and businesses,” C Spire President Stephen Bye said in a press release. “In our state, broadband technology is the path to a stronger economy, more jobs and a healthier lifestyle.”

    Bye said C Spire plans to deploy fixed wireless to “thousands of consumers and businesses across the state over the next several years,” but did not specify whether those plans were based on 5G. The press release does note, however, that C Spire is partnering with Phazr to develop affordable 5G millimeter wave equipment, including client devices and base stations.

    The press release also noted that the goal was to develop “affordable 5G millimeter wave solutions” to “extend” company’s 8,700 route-mile fiber network, much of which is “at the edge of many neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties.”

  10. “We have a very realistic approach where there’s not a one-size-fits-all,” said Alan Jones, C Spire’s SVP of access and deployment.

    C Spire is essentially adding the Phazr option to its lineup of fixed wireless technologies. The company last year launched a much wider deployment of fixed wireless services, reaching thousands of homes, using equipment from Mimosa and Siklu running in unlicensed 5.8 GHz spectrum and providing internet speeds of around 150 Mbps.
    Sparks explained that deployments using Mimosa and Siklu equipment are primarily intended to be used “under the canopy,” where signals from cell towers 20 or 30 feet tall travel underneath obstructions like trees. The company’s Phazr deployments, meantime, will occur in locations where a there aren’t any trees — thus, a Phazr cell tower can be up to 150 feet tall. As C Spire expands its fixed wireless service, it will select the technology that best meets the needs of a particular location’s topography.

    Sparks acknowledged that operations in millimeter-wave spectrum bands, like the company’s 28GHz spectrum it is using for the Phazr deployments, can be blocked by trees and other obstacles. Thus, C Spire’s Phazr network will need a line-of-sight connection between a cell tower and a receiver installed on a user’s home or office. (Interestingly, C Spire’s Phazr network uses licensed 28GHz spectrum for download connections and unlicensed 5.8GHz spectrum for upload connections, which Sparks pointed out is a novel approach in the industry.)

    Despite the differences between the Phazr network and the Mimosa/Siklu network, the result for customers is roughly the same, aside from speeds: Customers who subscribe to either network get unlimited, uncapped internet services for $50 a month without a contract. They also don’t have to pay for a receiver to be installed on their home. The receiver communicates with a nearby cell tower and routes internet connections into a WiFi router in the user’s home or office.

    Although C Spire is branding its fixed wireless service as a “5G” offering, neither the Phazr equipment nor the Mimosa/Siklu equipment adheres to the 3GPP’s 5G NR (release 15) spec. Instead, both options are proprietary technologies based on extensions to the IEEE 802.11 WiFi standard. However, C Spire’s Sparks argues that operator is meeting the IMT-2020 requirements for fifth-generation wireless network technology with its fixed broadband wireless services (Editor’s NOTE: that’s a complete lie because fixed wireless access is NOT even an IMT 2020 use case!).

    C Spire’s work with Mimosa, Siklu and Phazr are part of the company’s wider pledge last year to use several different types of fixed wireless technologies to reach up to 200,000 consumers and businesses across its coverage area. That effort sits directly alongside C Spire’s ongoing fiber-to-the-home build out; in fact C Spire’s Jones said that the company could eventually build fiber to locations it is currently serving with fixed wireless technologies.

    C Spire joins Verizon in using 28GHz millimeter-wave transmissions to broadcast fixed wireless internet connections to homes, offices and other stationary locations.

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