neo TokyoSoftbank was startled by large signups for fixed wireless in Tokyo, a city with almost 100% coverage of fiber home. T-Mobile in Austria has also seen a trend.

The new customers were primarily young. They wanted a service they could take with them if they changed apartments. The fiber connects and reconnects are a headache.

Softbank has nominal speeds of hundreds of megabits and practical speeds of at least a couple of dozen megabits in most of Tokyo. That is enough for most people, most of the time. 

Unless they download heavily, most people don't often need speeds of hundreds of megabits. Two HD TV stream and plenty of surfing fit easily into 12 megabits. 

Softbank is a world leader in Massive MIMO, putting 64 antennas on cell towers to increase capacity. That typically increases throughput 3X or more. Often, the improvement is 10X. 

Softbank has tuned their massive MIMO to give better performance at the edge of the cell site. With that many antennas, you can direct the beam to the area most needing coverage. While the headline on Massive MIMO comes from the increased high speed, tuning the network to help those with the worst service may be more useful.

The ability to tune the beam means you may need fewer towers. As performance at the edge improves, the reach of an existing tower increases. With towers often costing $200,000, even in the emerging world, the savings may bring the effective cost down to a more affordable level. 

It's crucial to consider how many will switch off their landlines and go mobile only for data. With LTE speeds often in the hundreds of megabits, the speed is fine for many.

Capacity is the brake on the switch to wireless. Landlines can carry ten times the data, but not everyone needs that. Data caps of 5-10 Gigabytes/months allow only ~two hours/week of quality video. Caps are getting higher, with Free in France proposing 100 gigabytes for $23. That's still below the 200 gigabytes average usage in many countries. 

Gigabits are great and an exciting future. Since it takes years to upgrade networks, everything built now should be far more robust than last year's service.

Some people's needs are below average.

Latest

April 18

“My three biggest customers are marching to 7 and 5 nanometers.” Lip-Bu Tan. Moore’s Law ain’t dead yet.

Eric Xu, current Huawei Chairman, said consumers would find no “material difference between 4G & 5G.” Dozens of top engineers agree the "5G Revolution" is hokum, including  DT CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, FT/Orange SVP Arnaud Vamparys, and BT CEO Gavin Patterson.
     Politicians and marketers pushed b_______. What’s coming for 5-10 years is good for telco capacity but otherwise disappointing. Unfortunately. 
     On the other hand, mmWave & Massive MIMO are improving at a ferocious rate, advancing telco capacity enormously. Massive MIMO has made it practical to use 3.5 GHz frequencies, a second remarkable booster. The "5G Revolution" is dead; Long Live the real 5G and advanced wireless!
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U.S. attacks on Huawei and ZTE look to be an historic disaster.


China’s logical response is to invest to become independent of the U.S. They already have $100B on the table for memory chips and are rumored to add another $100B. Huawei/HiSilicon already holds their own against Qualcomm and everyone else in the world. 
    Zeng Xuezhong of Spreadtrum, world #3 mobile chipmaker, confirms: China will “speed up the chip R&D investment that is self-controlled and self-researched. We must never forget to make it bigger and stronger.”
     U.S. warships patrolling China’s seas inspire security fears. So does Trump’s threat to a country on China’s border."Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, [for] fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
     China would be stupid not to have domestic capacity just in case. The Chinese leadership is not stupid.
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The year's best wireless conference is next week. Ted Rappaport, Sandeep Rangan and colleagues bring the world's best engineers to the Brooklyn 5G Conference Summit. This year, Paulraj, Onoe, Fettweis, Katabi, and their peers are coming. Do not miss the webcast, http://bit.ly/2HuOKqW .

April 10

A special report: Who Are The Three Billion? The Color Of The Net Has Changed http://bit.ly/netcolor
1/3rd wireless only, 2/3rds in Global South, 75% not native English speakers.