C Spire today began rolling out its pre-standard 5G mobile service in Mississippi with plans to add more areas by the end of this year. Brookhaven in south Mississippi’s Lincoln County and Columbus in north Mississippi’s Lowndes County were strategically chosen as the initial 5G markets as part of C Spire efforts to make the technology available and provide the best network experience for customers.
The C Spire 5G launch is occurring in conjunction with the launch of the latest Apple iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro required for 5G service. More 5G-enabled smartphones from other handset manufacturers, including Samsung, will be available for use in early 2021 along with expansion in other markets. The use of the Apple 5G iPhones implies this is a 5G-NR (3GPPP Rel 15) NSA implementation.
Specifically, parts of Hattiesburg, parts of Madison and Ridgeland in the greater Jackson metropolitan area and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, are expected to be 5G capable by the end of 2020 with more areas of the company’s footprint coming soon, according to Brian Caraway, General Manager of C Spire’s wireless division.
“We’re bringing consumers the benefits of new 5G wireless network technology where they need it the most with fast speeds, better service and an improved experience,” Caraway said. “Using a backbone of fiber optic infrastructure, we’re rolling out a better 5G network for now and for the future.”
5G implementation is part of over $200 million in recent network enhancements, including the deployment of additional Band 41 carriers with carrier aggregation, increased cell site antenna capacity using advanced features like 12-layer MIMO, 256 QAM modulation for better spectral efficiency, network-wide optimization for balanced data delivery and extensive coverage of 4G LTE Advanced announced previously this year.
During the transition to 5G across the network, Caraway said C Spire plans to continue to use improvements and enhancements offered from its current 4G LTE Advanced technology to ensure that customers have the best network experience uniquely designed for their needs and region.
“We’re deploying 5G at a variety of spectrums – so many customers will have a faster experience on a 5G network while others may still see the best performance on our 4G LTE deployments,” Caraway added. “5G is a new technology that will improve with time, but regardless of where you live, C Spire is dedicated to providing the best network experience for the most customers possible.” Indeed, C-Spire says that they are delivering peak speeds up to 200Mbps through a combination of the most advanced LTE and 5G technologies.
C Spire, a Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology services company, operates the nation’s largest privately-owned mobile services firm and sixth largest in the U.S. industry. The rollout is part of the firm’s broader efforts to bring consumers and businesses next-generation 5G benefits now and in the future. The company also installed new base stations and software at its 1,200-plus cell sites last year, resulting in a 20 percent average speed boost across its network.
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.
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
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.”
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.
U.S. service provider C Spire today announced a partnership with electric utility Entergy Mississippi which aims to bring more than 300 miles of fiber to remote areas of Mississippi. C Spire will build and own the network, with Entergy contributing construction costs, according to C Spire Vice President of Government Relations Ben Moncrief in an interview with Telecompetitor.
Entergy will lease capacity on the network from C Spire to support its smart grid initiatives, he said. C Spire eventually expects to extend the middle-mile network to end user locations to support retail services, he added, although he emphasized that any such plans are not part of today’s news.
Details about the C Spire – Entergy partnership can be found in this press release. Clearly there were a lot of synergies for these companies to work together.
“This opens the door to offering service to residences and industrial parks,” Moncrief said. “But today is just about getting the (fiber optic) backbone in place.”
When Entergy Mississippi sought the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s approval to build a network to support its smart grid plans, one of the commissioners asked whether that network could also be “at least a foundation for broadband services,” Moncrief explained.
That idea led Entergy to a meeting with C Spire at which representatives of both companies had an “aha moment,” Moncrief recalled.
C Spire initially was a wireless carrier, as well as a provider of wireline business services, but in recent years has been quite aggressive in deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and other broadband network infrastructure in numerous rural markets in Mississippi. Meanwhile, Moncrief said, “Here’s an electric utility that for security reasons is keeping infrastructure away from population centers.”
The network will be installed with a minimum of 144-count fiber, “in some places more,” Moncrief noted. Each company will have its own fiber. The areas that the network will run through are “very rural” and might have been too costly for C Spire to build out to without the Entergy investment, Moncrief added.
C Spire also will gain connectivity from the rural areas to population centers, Moncrief said.
The construction project will involve placing fiber optic cable along five separate routes as follows:
- Delta: a 92-mile route through Sunflower, Humphreys, Madison and Hinds counties and near the cities of Indianola, Inverness, Isola, Belzoni, Silver City, Yazoo City, Bentonia, Flora and Jackson.
- North: a 51-mile stretch in Attala, Leake and Madison counties, including near the towns of McAdams, Kosciusko and Canton.
- Central: a 33-mile route through Madison, Rankin and Scott counties and near the towns of Canton, Sand Hill and Morton.
- South: a 77-mile route passing through Simpson, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence and Walthall counties and near the towns of Magee, Prentiss, Silver Creek, Monticello and Tylertown.
- Southwest: a 49-mile stretch in Franklin and Adams counties that’s near the communities of Bude, Meadville, Roxie, Natchez and Eddiceton.
“We’re excited about partnering with C Spire to modernize our electrical grid and expand rural broadband access in some hard-to-reach areas across the state,” said Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi. “We have about 30,000 customers within five miles of the proposed routes who could potentially have access to broadband service when the project is complete. In addition, all of our customers will benefit from the enhancements to our communication systems that connect our facilities, substations, offices and radio sites.” The company provides electric service to an estimated 445,000 customers in 45 counties across the state.
“A robust broadband infrastructure is critical to the success of our efforts to move Mississippi forward by growing the economy, fostering innovation, creating job opportunities and improving the quality of life for all our residents,” said Hu Meena, CEO of C Spire, a Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company.