Factcheck T-Mobile/Sprint

crushing competition 230Some facts and researched opinions. I’ve tried to be neutral but I have a pro-consumer bias. I’ve editorialized strongly against the deal.

Below: On the effects of 4-3; On whether 5G will come faster; “Combining is the only way they can fight back against the two industry leaders;” On whether Sprint could survive without the merger; On whether Sprint could survive without the merger; On whether the T-Mobile 5G is a “seismic shift;” 5G is not 5G: Much will not be the truly high speeds of millimeter wave; Is even the real 5G, millimeter wave, revolutionary?; “5G offers more reliability than 4G or LTE”; Is 5g required for autonomous cars?’ Is 5G needed for telemedicine or IoT?

On the effects of 4-3 Tmo says prices will come down because of the deal. The best research is from Pal Zarandy at Rewheel, who just did a major study. He found prices were 40%-50% higher in Germany and Austria (4-3) than six others, including France. Gigabyte price development in 4 to 3 consolidated versus 4-MNO European markets – September 2013 to March 2018. Because France has so dramatically cut prices, my figure would be lower, “10%-20%, sometimes more.” Canada & France went from 3 to 4 with large price drops, which are now happening in Italy. Dubious. Wireless prices will go down because the cost per bit is decreasing rapidly. They will probably be higher than without the deal.

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Reporting Errors, Obvious Lies, & Lazy Reporters Might Get Sprint-T-Mobile Approved

Michael J. de la Merced and Cecilia Kang in the NY Times have one clear error & printed several company lies in their first report on Sprint-T-Mobile. Anyone an open mind and a basic understanding of networks and economics would see this instantly.

Since 2008, I’ve refrained from criticizing working reporters in a very rough world for journalists. Analysts like Craig Moffett have said this only has a 50-50 chance of going through the FCC. Spinning journalists is crucial to the success of the deal. Gullible reporters are a key enabler of the reduction in U.S. competition and high prices. The stakes here are high enough I’m changing that policy.

It is simply an error to say, “[5G] is the standard that will be used to connect home appliances, cars and smartphones online via fiber optic lines to the home.” 5G is a wireless standard, connecting to carriers’ wireless networks, not fiber optic lines. One of the biggest questions about 5G is whether devices will connect in the home via Wi-Fi or 5G to the telco network. Since telco networks charge, I and many others think Wi-Fi will be more common.

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Ich bin ein ZTE – China’s Response

JFK Berlin 230Hu Xijin, editor of government-run Global Times, wrote “We are all ZTE tonight,” echoing Jack Kennedy to support the 80,000 workers of ZTE. “Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was ‘Civis Romanus sum.’ Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’ ” Lily Kou of the Guardian reports a strong backlash in China to the U.S. Government total ban on ZTE.

The ZTE ruling portends that the United States government could shut down at will virtually any phone or telecom supplier in the world. I confirmed with Commerce that the decree covers software and technology. Reuters reported that Google may have to cut off Android apps, destroying ZTE’s phone business, which ships 40,000,000 units a year. Qualcomm & Broadcom can’t sell chips to ZTE, probably a billion dollars a year. 

Every manufacturer outside the United States has to fear similar U.S. action, not just the Chinese. For example, Samsung could be affected if the U.S. wanted to punish South Korea for making a separate peace with the North. 

Any sensible company will immediately start researching how to design products without any U.S. content. The Chinese are already spending $100B to build memory chips. They’ve just promised to up the government spending on 5G. 

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The Color Of The Net Has Changed

Family of man 230About 65% of 1.5B Internet “connections” are in the Global South, led by the BRICS. The actual number of users is probably twice that. Three quarters are not native English speakers. China has three times as many as the United States. India has more Facebook users than the United States. Vietnam has the fastest growth. See some figures below for why I’m confident Indonesia has more than 100M wireless only. The worldwide figure is > 1B wireless only data users, or about 500M “connections,” a figure I use for comparisons. Across most of Africa, India, and Indonesia, there are remarkably few landlines.

In the early years of broadband, America & Europe strongly dominated. Then Korea and Japan boomed, passing the U.S. by some measures. By 2013, North and South were about even. China had close to twice as many connections as the U.S. Today, China has about three times as many as the U.S. India now has as many users as the U.S. has people, or soon will. The gap is growing because the growth is limited in the developed countries. It’s predictable that 75% of Internet users will be in the South.

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New York’s Truthtelling CTO Miguel Gamiño: “No Choice” But To Quit FCC Broadband

NYC CTO I Quit 230The FCC Broadband Committee recommendations are “Industry priorities without regard for a true public-private partnership. … 75 percent of members represent large telecommunications and cable companies or interests aligned with those companies, … These circumstances give me no choice but to step away.”

Miguel Gamiño Jr., Chief Technology Officer of the City of New York, wrote the letter below to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Like San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, he quit. He worked hard for 11 months but was overruled by the company people Pai put on the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. 

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