China: We Lead 3GPP Wireless Standards

Huawei 3GPP 230In 2018, nothing can get approved in 3GPP that China strongly opposes. In the past, 3GPP often was a battle between a few American giants and their European peers. A Qualcomm or a Nokia will still be heard, but the power has shifted. I haven’t seen evidence that the Chinese influence has made for better or worse standards.

There are now over a billion 4G subscribers at the big 3 Chinese telcos, by far the largest equipment buyers. Nokia, Ericsson, and the other vendors do not dare oppose their largest customers. Qualcomm, which sends 60 people to 3PPP, has been in crisis as the Chinese have held up their $44B purchase of NXP. The srock dropped $10B after the 4/16 ZTE incident. 

Huawei and ZTE each have thousands of patents in wireless and submit hundreds of proposals in standards. OF Week reports

There are more than 30 Chinese people holding key positions in the standards organization, voting power exceeds 23%, the number of contributions is 30%, and lead projects account for 40%.

Some 3GPP working groups have open mailing lists, where I see Chinese submissions are ubiquitous, 

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Breaking: AT&T, Verizon, Google & Others Are Selling Your Location to Hedge Funds and Others

Law enforcement is grabbing that information without a warrant. Hedge funds apparently are getting that as well. I found Google & Neustar (North American Numbering Plan) are also LocationSmart partners. 

ZDNet headlines “US cell carriers are selling access to your real-time phone location data The company embroiled in a privacy row has “direct connections” to all major US wireless carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — and Canadian cell networks, too.” Jennifer Valentino-DeVries at the NY Times has some of the story “Service Meant to Monitor Inmates’ Calls Could Track You, Too.” Interesting comments at Hacker News as well.

Brenda Schafer of LocationSmart emailed, “LocationSmart provides an enterprise mobility platform that strives to bring secure operational efficiencies to enterprise customers.  All disclosure of location data through LocationSmart’s platform relies on consent first being received from the individual subscriber.  

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Unreliable Sources

In my opinion, the work of those listed here is inaccurate as noted. Please do send me examples from telecom reporting and claims. I particularly welcome pointers to mistakes made while supporting my editorial positions; this should not be one-sided.

I recommend not using it without a second, clearly independent source. I will be delighted to remove any name if good evidence is provided the work is accurate or it is retracted. I will not list anyone here I know did substantial additional work accurately. If any listing is disputed, I will remove it for 14 days to allow a careful look at the contentions.  Dave


Hal Singer, Economists Incorporated Kevin Caves, Economists Incorporated Ed Naef, CMA Strategy Consulting Micah Sachs, CMA Strategy Consulting

Assessing the Impact of Forbearance from 251(c)(3) on Consumers, Capital Investment, and Jobs May2018

End-customers will benefit from reduced pricing and improved performance from their next-generation telecommunications services,



“If Net Neutrality Is Repealed, the Internet Will Die!” Factcheck.

Highly unlikely Net Neutrality is important and I’ve supported the idea since 1999. But I do not believe, “It will end the Internet as we know it,” attributed to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. No one is likely to show you The Washington Post when you ask for the NY Times. AT&T’s DirecTV Now will not appeared when you thought you were going to Netflix. Ending Net Neutrality will raise costs for those sending video, disproportionately more for smaller companies and start-ups. Google YouTube & Facebook have enough clout to get a much lower rate. Much or most of the extra cost will be passed on to consumers. Most of the telcos’ extra earnings will not go to better networks. CEOs and CFOs across the world have said most would go to shareholders. 

“If Net Neutrality Is Repealed, the Internet Will Die!” has been said many of my most progressive friends. They are almost certainly wrong. It would be bad business, bad politics, and unlikely engineering. Most issues will arise where large volumes of video are sent. Web surfing and most of Facebook use much less bandwidth and would be much harder to throttle.

Shelly Palmer printed the quote, but then went on to refute it. 

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The Smoking Gun on 5G Speeds

smoking gun small 230I found this chart from Bell Labs just before I went to print. The blue is 5G; the grey LTE. They are similar in size. Larger picture after the break.)

In fact, either may prove faster on T-Mobile’s network, depending. The 500 megabits comes from using LTE/LAA to grab some Wi-Fi spectrum. I don’t know if 5G can also soon do LAA. if not, T-Mobile’s LTE will be faster. Tmo’s problem is that Neville Ray has already pushed them to the state-of-the-art. The merger will give them more customers and more spectrum, but consumer results will be little changed.

The millimeter wave 5G is what delivers the performance. T-Mobile will test that but most of the next few years will be the slower 600 MHz. They want the longer reach for more coverage. Professor Ted Rappaport gave me this explanation.

“The low band (600 MHz) systems will always be limited in capacity and are not future proof no matter what special massive Mimo is used- the antennas will be too large and the bandwidths are too small, and simply can’t carry the bandwidths of mmwave– the RF channel allocations are simply too small. The wider bandwidth channels at mmwave is the only way to carry the multi Gbps data rates that will be seen in 5G. And to simultaneously also provide backhaul between cells in the same network.”

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AT&T’s Silly Work Confuses the Effect of Sprint-Tmo

4-3 mergers, according to the best available evidence, result in higher prices. See 4 To 3 Wireless Mergers Doubled Relative Prices: Rewheel Nearly everyone unbiased sees it that way. But two scholars brought to the discussion an irrelevant AT&T-sponsored paper. It was written by three economists, at least one excellent, who wouldn’t have come to the same conclusion if they understood how wireless technology is improving. 

Verizon provided an estimate that wireless cost per bit delivered was going down 40%/year. 40% may be a little high, but the improvement in cost/bit is remarkable. That means that prices would go down even in a monopoly, much less 3-6 carriers. Rewheel compared Germany & Austria, which went from 4 to 3 with six countries without a merger. (2013-2018) Relative prices in Germany and Austria were much higher.

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Will Times Reporting “Implausible Promises” Kill T-Mobile-Sprint?

John Legere is telling falsehoods about the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. The New York Times may have killed the merger with “The Implausible Promises of a T-Mobile-Sprint Merger.” The Times makes some of the same points as my article. It’a loaded with confirming data.

If D.C. believes the Times that the main claims of the partners are not supportable, the merger will have less than a 10% chance of surviving. The Times has it right, which may not be enough to overcome some officials’ confirmation bias. The psychologists have proven that most of us are unwilling to credit anything that contradicts what we believe. (I have a pro-consumer bias. I do my best to overcome it and report close to the truth.)

The heart of the justification is that with the merger, we would have much better 5G, sooner, and that it would produce $billions in social gains. But Legere and his CTO have already promised 30 cities with 5G in 2018 and the entire country by 2020. The only way the new T-Mobile could bring 5G faster is to build it in 2017. That would be difficult at this point. In addition, their “5G” is mostly 600 MHz, not millimeter wave, with a speed only slightly faster than LTE in 2018. Since it won’t deliver much more to the consumer and won’t come sooner, the claimed social benefits disappear.

About the only legitimate way to justify the deal is by proving Sprint is inevitably a failing company. That’s hard to credit, given a $36B market cap. The Sprint CEO and CFO have been emphatically denying that possibility to Wall Street. IANAL but felony fraud charges and jail time might be the result.

Let me be specific about false claims:

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