Paradise prepares a 5G platform for developers

Posted on June 7, 2023

Paradise prepares a 5G platform for developers

AUSTIN – Big 5G Event – Paradise Mobile is close to finishing its 5G network buildout and is ready to kick off the next step in its broad strategy: opening its operations to developers, said CEO Sam Tabbara.

Speaking here at the Big 5G Event, Tabbara explained that Paradise Mobile is building a cutting-edge 5G network across Bermuda. The network isn’t huge – it spans Bermuda’s roughly 20 square miles with a handful of transmission sites – but it runs mainly in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud using software and hardware from vendor Mavenir. That design is far different from most established telecom networks.

The initial goal of the Paradise Mobile network is to provide speedy 5G services to residents and tourists on the island. But Tabbara explained that the company also plans to offer its network to developers looking to test next-generation services on a cutting-edge, cloud-based network architecture.

Ultimately, Paradise Mobile hopes to offer its network as a kind of public test bed that others in the 5G ecosystem can use to prove out new technologies and business models that they can then export to other, bigger markets.

Click here to read the article from Light Reading.

A satellite-cellular merger could be the next revolutionary tech innovation

Posted on May 30, 2023

A satellite-cellular merger could be the next revolutionary tech innovation

From time-to-time, important technologies merge and change the world forever. This is what happened when cellphone, internet, digital camera and GPS technologies merged into today’s smartphones.

Smartphones were less the invention of a new technology than an economic and engineering innovation that integrated technologies previously considered quite separate. We may be on the verge of the next major technology integration with the merger of satellite communications (satcom) with cellular communications (cellcom).

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened a complex, far-reaching proceeding in which it proposes to integrate satellite and cellular communications in a way that would allow smartphones to communicate through either a cell tower or a satellite. The proceeding is revolutionary because it proposes to integrate what has until now been considered two utterly different technologies and completely separate regulatory environments.

As recently as the 1990s, it could have been compared to combining a freezer with an oven or a hunting license with a driver’s license. This initiative would classify satcom using one’s smartphone as a “supplement” to one’s cellular service when no cell service is available. I believe, however, that it represents only the first step in the merger of these two important technologies.

This results from dramatic changes in the technologies, economics and applications of both satellite and cellular communications. Over time, it opens the possibility of redefining how we think about engaging in every online activity, from social media to telephone, video, browsing, email and online shopping, banking, voting, gaming and more. To understand why this is difficult and important, we need to understand why cellular and satellite communications have been considered so different.

Communications satellite and cellular communications technologies have both been around for decades but viewed as entirely separate from each other. (Full disclosure: I am author of a textbook on the history of mobile satellite communications.) Due largely to America’s space race with the Soviets and the role of satellite-based communications in America’s global military footprint, satcom entered military and commercial services in the 1960s mainly to link fixed satellite dishes located thousands of miles apart.

The technology consists of terminals on the ground sending and receiving voice, data and video to and from a satellite in orbit overhead. One type of satellite technology consists of large satellites in a very high (22,000-mile-high) orbit where the satellites appear to be fixed stationary in the sky; while another technology uses smaller satellites in low (200-500 mile-high) orbits, where the satellites appear to be moving across the sky.

Satcom historically required very expensive rockets to place each satellite in orbit, enormous and expensive satellites and powerful two-way radios both on the ground and in orbit. Because satellites simultaneously transmit to and from many nations, from the outset, their radio frequencies and orbital slots have been coordinated and licensed by the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU.)

Click here to read the full article on

AT&T, Verizon reach agreement for full-power C-band deployments

Posted on May 26, 2023

AT&T, Verizon reach agreement for full-power C-band deployments

AT&T, T-Mobile, UScellular and Verizon sent a letter to the FCC on Friday saying that they agreed to voluntary commitments related to air traffic safety and the deployment of C-band spectrum.

“These voluntary commitments will support full-power deployments across C-band, and are crafted to minimize the operational impact on our C-band operations,” the letter stated. Reuters first reported the filing on Friday.

The letter noted that in February 2020, the FCC adopted licensing and technical rules that serve to ensure coexistence between new C-band operations and radio altimeters operating more than 220 megahertz away in the 4.2-4.4 GHz band.

That’s worth noting because the wireless industry, including through CTIA, argued that, thanks in part to the 220 MHz guard band, C-band signals were far enough away from the altimeters to not cause harmful interference. But because older altimeters don’t “stay in their lane,” so to speak, they are susceptible to interference.

Included in their filing with the FCC are a list of C-band licensee voluntary commitments for certain periods of time and a list of 188 airports where C-band mitigation efforts are in effect. The operators pledged to continue to coordinate with the FAA on all outdoor base stations near the 188 airports and to submit to the FAA confidential coordination information at least 30 days prior to transmission. Some of the commitments last until 2028.

Verizon spent $52.9 billion, including incentive payments and clearing costs, for its C-band licenses. AT&T was the second largest bidder in the C-band auction and spent over $23 billion. But they couldn’t turn on C-band signals near airports at full power due to concerns by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation industry.

In a statement following Friday’s filing, Verizon said that after more than a year of close collaboration with government stakeholders, they agreed to final voluntary commitments that will allow the company to fully use its C-band spectrum for 5G by the previously agreed to deadline of July 1.

“As we’ve said from the beginning, C-band wireless operations and aviation can safely co-exist, something that’s been proven in the U.S. and around the globe. We remain very optimistic about our C-band deployment as it brings new 5G opportunities to our customers,” Verizon added.

AT&T issued a short statement, saying the filing “is the result of collaborative and productive conversations with the FAA.”

UScellular has been keeping the FCC apprised of its communications with the FAA ahead of its C-band deployment, which is later than AT&T’s and Verizon’s due to clearing out satellite incumbents and the phased approach to the spectrum.

Some consumer advocates pointed out that a lot of neighborhoods near airports are lower income and/or majority non-white communities.

“UScellular believes all Americans deserve the ability to connect to what matters most through ground-breaking technology as quickly as possible,” said Adriana Rios Welton, head of Legal and Government Affairs at UScellular, in a statement. “We can now use this valuable spectrum to connect the unconnected quickly and affordably with high-quality home and mobile broadband.”

Click here to read the full article from Fierce Wireless.

How 5G Can Unlock The Potential Of Smart Homes

Posted on May 23, 2023

How 5G Can Unlock The Potential Of Smart Homes

5G technology is transforming the way people interact with their homes. With faster download speeds and connectivity, 5G technology is enabling more advanced smart homes. 5G technology is making it possible to integrate more smart devices into the home, such as smart thermostats, security systems and surveillance cameras, and connected home appliances. This allows homes to become more efficient and automated, which in turn reduces energy costs and improves homeowners’ safety and comfort.

For the real estate industry, this means that there will be a plethora of extra amenities and technologies that will be offered alongside the home itself once 5G makes its breakthrough. For example, as mentioned before, this technology can allow for more sophisticated surveillance systems in the properties, which can give real estate agents the ability to show the property without worrying about anything happening to it and being able to monitor it the whole time.

5G technology also has the potential to revolutionize the way commercial buildings are managed. Commercial buildings can use 5G technology to control and manage their security, power and heating systems remotely. In addition, 5G technology can also improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings by enabling better management and control of energy consumption.

Click here to read the full article from Forbes.

The 5G Fixed Wireless Access Vs. Fiber Debate

Posted on May 19, 2023

The 5G Fixed Wireless Access Vs. Fiber Debate

Many industry pundits, including myself, have pointed to 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) services as the early “killer” 5G application. Case in point, T-Mobile has built a significant FWA business in the U.S., leveraging its early lead with a complete 5G spectrum footprint to deliver both consumer and business wireless internet services. It’s wise for the magenta-hued “Un-carrier” to monetize its network investment beyond mobile phones because it does not offer fiber. FWA is also poised to become essential in bridging the lack of fixed broadband services in parts of rural America that are underserved by cable and fiber.

On the other hand, rival AT&T is building a formidable fiber network that offers multi-gig speeds and supplies critical backhaul for its mobile 5G network. AT&T has traditionally offered FWA services to its business customers, but it smartly leads with a “fiber-first” strategy that plays to its strengths. Last year I spent time with AT&T CEO John Stankey on a rural fiber tour; if you are interested, take a look at my writeup here.

With all that said, FWA’s early momentum is leading many to question whether it is simply a superior alternative to fiber. That’s a complicated comparison to unpack, but one I am often asked about, so in this article I’ll share my insights on the topic (and my love of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots as a kid!).

Defining the architectural and infrastructure elements

Before jumping into the debate, it’s helpful to define the architecture and underlying infrastructure for FWA and fiber. FWA provides wireless broadband through radio links between two fixed points that operates on licensed spectrum over LTE and 5G networks. This serves a home or business through a wireless connection to a customer premises equipment (CPE) unit that typically integrates Wi-Fi. On the other hand, fiber employs optical cable trenched underground with last-mile connections made either aerially (usually from a telephone pole) or underground depending on the topography of the homes and businesses being served. Again, CPE devices serve as the termination points, but in the case of fiber they are physically wired to the carrier network.

The pros and cons of FWA versus fiber

FWA and fiber services each have pluses and minuses. FWA is easy to deploy in areas that have the requisite 5G spectrum coverage, and CPE devices can be shipped directly to customers with simple instructions for installation. No aerial or underground cabling is required, making it a clean deployment that doesn’t require drilling into exterior walls. However, FWA is limited in upload and download performance based on the spectrum band deployed. There are also capacity and speed limitations, given that FWA and mobile services compete for the same cellular network bandwidth.

Fiber’s superpowers are speed and reliability. AT&T and Google offer multi-gig capabilities and symmetrical performance—meaning that upload and download speeds are the same. Fiber is also upgradeable via modular optical components, making it highly futureproof and less costly to upgrade over time relative to FWA. I have spent time with AT&T and seen firsthand in real-world deployments the potential for future upgradeability beyond what is offered today. However, one of the downsides is fiber’s deployment cost, which plays out in a chicken-and-egg scenario. Areas of lower subscriber density such as rural America stretch out the time required for the operator to reach financial breakeven on their investment, which complicates the economics and extends the time to achieve positive average revenue per user (ARPU).

To address fiber’s economic challenges, AT&T is taking an innovative approach to extending fiber reach through its recently announced Gigapower joint venture with BlackRock Alternatives. Gigapower’s open-access business model could result in the exponential growth of fiber connectivity to serve internet service providers and customers outside of AT&Ts 21-state wireline service footprint. You can find those details here.

I recently spoke with Chris Sambar, head of AT&T Network, to get his perspective on the FWA vs fiber debate, given his team’s responsibility for the architecture, engineering, construction and operation of the company’s global network. Sambar rightly points out that FWA, although a great alternative for business critical failover, rural connectivity and use cases such as mobile food truck point of sale processing in my beloved hometown of Austin, Texas, often suffers in the long run with costly cellular infrastructure upgrades, expensive license spectrum and capacity limitations. This can result in higher subscriber churn, lower operator profitability and eventually higher prices for consumers and businesses.

Wrapping up

This all leads to the million-dollar question: Which is better, FWA or fiber? Ultimately, FWA and fiber are better together. Fiber provides the necessary backhaul for 5G deployments, supporting mobile and fixed wireless services. In geographies that are suitable for the cost-effective deployment of fiber, it is the optimal choice given its performance value. For those areas that are more challenging, such as in the mountains or outlying areas with smaller population densities, FWA is a logical choice. For the latter, mobile network operators and wireless internet service providers will have to ensure proper spectrum capacity and deploy a “layer cake” of 5G spectrum (low-, mid- and high-band) to maintain adequate levels of performance and reliability. Ultimately, access to an intelligent mix of FWA and fiber services will be a solid combination to ensure connectivity for all.

Click here to read the full article from Forbes.

What is 5G?

Posted on May 16, 2023

What is 5G?

Like other cellular networks, 5G networks use a system of cell sites that divide their territory into sectors and send encoded data through radio waves. Each cell site must be connected to a network backbone, whether through a wired or wireless backhaul connection. 5G changes the way data is encoded, and offers many more options to carriers in terms of airwaves to use.

5G networks use a type of encoding called OFDM, which is similar to the encoding that 4G LTE uses. The air interface is designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE, though.

The new system opens up “high-band,” short-range airwaves that didn’t work with 4G technology. But 5G can run on any frequency, leading to three very different kinds of 5G experiences—low, middle, and high.

5G isn’t much faster than 4G on the same old radio channels. Instead, the 5G spec lets phones use much wider channels across a broader range of frequencies. The carriers and the FCC have to make those wider channels available, though, and that’s where they’ve largely fallen short.

With 4G, you can combine up to seven, 20MHz channels to use a total of 140MHz of spectrum. Most of the time, though, phones are using 60MHz or less.

With new phones in low- and mid-band 5G, you can combine three 100MHz channels for 300MHz usage—and stack several more 20MHz 4G channels on top of that. In high-band 5G, you can use up to eight 100MHz channels. But if you don’t have the airwaves available, you don’t get the speeds.

Carriers can also flexibly share channels between 4G and 5G using dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). DSS makes the walls between 4G and 5G channels movable, so carriers can split channels between 4G and 5G based on demand. That’s what Verizon has been using for its “nationwide” 5G. It doesn’t free up any new airwaves for 5G—it just reuses odds and ends of 4G—so we haven’t seen DSS 5G offer much better performance than 4G.

Low-band 5G operates in frequencies below 2GHz. These are the oldest cellular and TV frequencies. They go great distances, but there aren’t very wide channels available, and many of those channels are being used for 4G. So low-band 5G is slow. It acts and feels like 4G, for now. Low-band 5G channels are from 5MHz in width (for AT&T) up to 20MHz (for T-Mobile), so you can see they aren’t roomier than 4G. If your phone’s network indicator just says “5G,” you are on low-band.

Complicating things, AT&T and T-Mobile low-band phones sometimes show 5G icons when they aren’t even using 5G, making it hard to tell any difference.

Mid-band 5G is in the 2 to 10GHz range. That covers most current cellular and Wi-Fi frequencies, as well as frequencies slightly above those. These networks have decent range from their towers, often about half a mile, so in most other countries, these are the workhorse networks carrying most 5G traffic. Most other countries have offered around 100MHz to each of their carriers for mid-band 5G.

There are several different slices of mid-band being used in the US. Some of them are controversial; the airline industry has been complaining about anything from 3.7 to 4.0GHz as being too close to the frequency of their radio altimeters, which run at 4.2 to 4.4GHz. But that’s not the only mid-band frequency we’re using! T-Mobile’s “ultra capacity” 5G network runs on channels of up to 100MHz of (Opens in a new window)2.5GHz. AT&T and Verizon just introduced new mid-band networks based on the “C-band,” at 3.7 to 3.8GHz. Later this year, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Dish will all turn on more coverage at 3.45 to 3.55GHz. If your phone’s status indicator says “5G UC,” “5G UW,” or “5G+,” you are on mid-band or high-band. There’s no easy way to tell the difference between mid-band and high-band on your phone.

High-band 5G, or millimeter-wave, is the really new stuff. So far, this is mostly airwaves in the 20-100GHz range. These airwaves haven’t been used for consumer applications before. They’re very short range; our tests have shown about 800-foot distances from towers. But there’s vast amounts of unused spectrum up there, which means very fast speeds using up to 800MHz at a time. We’ve seen speeds over 3Gbps on Verizon’s high-band network, which it calls “ultra wideband.” Unfortunately, we found in our Fastest Mobile Networks 2021 tests that Verizon’s network only showed around 3% coverage in the cities we surveyed. AT&T and T-Mobile also have some high-band. They generally describe it as only for high-density hotspots, like college campuses and football stadiums.

High bands have been used before for backhaul, connecting base stations to remote internet links. But they haven’t been used for consumer devices before, because the handheld processing power and miniaturized antennas weren’t available. Millimeter-wave signals also drop off faster with distance than lower-frequency signals do, and the massive amount of data they transfer will require more connections to landline internet. So cellular providers use many smaller, lower-power base stations (generally outputting 2–10 watts) rather than fewer, more powerful macrocells (which output 20–40 watts) to offer the multi-gigabit speeds that millimeter-wave networks promise. Because of the very fast drop-off, the waves are quite weak when they get to you.

In many major cities, the carriers installed these “small cells” to increase 4G capacity starting in 2017. In those cities, they just need to bolt an extra radio onto the existing site to make it 5G. There’s a struggle going on elsewhere, though, where carriers are having trouble convincing towns to let them add small cells to suburban neighborhoods. That’s similar to previous struggles over establishing cellular service at all in many of these towns.

Verizon is trying to enhance its high-band 5G coverage by making deals with companies that create 5G extenders and repeaters, such as Pivotal Commware.

Click here to read the full article from PCMag.

What are the differences between 4G and 5G?

Posted on December 9, 2019

What are the differences between 4G and 5G?

The wireless technology experts at Connected Real Estate Mag have outlined the key differences between the 4th generation of wireless tech and the exciting new 5th generation. The primary differences that we will continue to hear about are lower latency, capacity for more bandwidth, and the coverage ability for signal to travel further. The Connected Real Estate Mag Team also describe that 5G technology will make an impact on the commercial real estate industry. Through 5G technology, CRE owners can support smart community amenities / community IoT functionality, deliver a more desirable / sustainable living environment for the renting demographic, as well as appeal to the growing population who have a work-from-home employment arrangement. Ultimately, community connectivity is an ecosystem and 5G will be a primary contributor. 

Click here to view a Connected Real Estate Magazine article regarding this subject.

DISH Network Adds Credibility to their Carrier Status by Hiring 2 Wireless Industry Veterans

Posted on November 14, 2019

DISH Network Adds Credibility to their Carrier Status by Hiring 2 Wireless Industry Veterans

There are still many unknowns about DISH Network’s strategy, intentions, and plans in the 5G wireless marketplace. While much of DISH’s fate as a major carrier is heavily influenced by the T-Mobile / Sprint merger, DISH is positioning itself to become an immediate contender in the 5G arms race by making key additions to its proverbial bench. DISH hired Marc Rouanne to serve as the company’s Chief Network Officer. Rouanne previously served as Nokia’s President of Mobile Networks. DISH has also hired Stephan Bye to serve as the company’s Chief Commercial Officer to oversee the commercialization of DISH’s 5G network. Previously, Bye has served as the President of C-Spire, CEO of Connectivity Wireless, and the CTO of Sprint.

Click here to view a Fierce Wireless article regarding this subject.

T-Mobile Makes Major 5G Commitments as Result of Sprint Acquisition

Posted on November 14, 2019

T-Mobile Makes Major 5G Commitments as Result of Sprint Acquisition

In response to the coalition of state attorneys general filing lawsuit to block the T-Mobile / Sprint merger, T-Mobile announces three major commitments to the public. While the FCC and DOJ have officially signed off on the $26.5 billion deal, state-led lawsuits continue to argue that the merging of these two major wireless carriers will create anti-competitive situation for American cellular consumers. T-Mobile’s commitments include two new affordable pre-paid offerings for customers, the “Connecting Heroes” program – offering unlimited 5G voice and text access to all first responders, and pledging $10 billion over the next 5 years to offer free internet to qualified households with students.

Click here to view a Fierce Wireless article regarding this subject.

FCC Approval of T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Official

Posted on November 14, 2019

FCC Approval of T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Official

The Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai, along with Commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly casted their votes in favor of T-Mobile’s acquisition of former wireless rival Sprint. The deal is valued at $26.5 billion and was favored by the FCC because of New T-Mobile’s commitment to bring 5G connectivity to the rural markets of the Unite States, thus shrinking the digital divide. While both the DOJ and FCC approve of this wireless merger, it is still faced with a major lawsuit intended to block the deal. The lawsuit was filed by a coalition of state attorneys general led by California and New York.

Click here to view a Connected Real Estate Magazine article regarding this subject.