next gen wireless? ...what, with a 2 GB cap?
Unless wireless can deliver more than some stupid low capped amount it's pretty much worthless. I know some have 'unlimited' plans somehow, and that's nice, but what about moving forward?
My parents, for example, could do with more than the 5GB Sprint cap. Now here comes AT&T, which probably wouldn't have more than EDGE coverage where they are anyway, promising the world...
There are all kinds of places that don't have DSL which would gladly pay for it, yet they still don't bother to expand service very often. Smaller, more rural telcos manage to trench fiber to more nodes and more obscure places than I EVER imagined, yet AT&T can't be bothered to do much.
This "promise" coming from the same company that's not motivated to provide even basic DSL outside of existing footprints for YEARS, if ever, and then having the nerve to cap it while citing questionable reasoning - is an affront.
Dave Burstein Important Clarification Karl picked up my thoughts on AT&T spectrum slightly differently than I meant to imply. I wrote
"Does AT&T need the T-Mobile spectrum? (no - 70-90% of the AT&T
spectrum capacity is currently unused.)"
not 70-90% of the spectrum. I including in that figure a great deal of spectrum that is currently "used" with older technologies but carries far less than it would with current technologies already being deployed by AT&T, Verizon and everyone else.
I'm working from a comparison of what the spectrum could carry with current technology (LTE, HSUPA+) compared with the capacity in use. That's 1.5-2.5 megabits/megahertz, depending on whether you're measuring average versus edge of cellsite, fixed antennae, etc.
That's 120-300 megabits in most markets. Let's call it 200 megabits average.
Currently, the heavy majority of AT&T cellsites are still served by T-1's carrying a total of less than 12 megabits, often far less. It's typically used for "up to 7.2 megabit" data and lots of voice. Some percentage - surprising high, but not 70-90%, is currently unused.(?20-60% on average as a wild guess, but that's unprovable without internal AT&T data.)
Much of the spectrum is currently used for voice, using older technologies that are far less efficient than today's. Glen Campbell of Merrill Lynch estimates that by refarming that spectrum and using it efficiently (if only for voice) you double the carrying capacity. Similar is true for all the spectrum being used for 2G and even 3G data. They only use 10-?50% of the capacity of the spectrum using today's technologies.
Carriers around the world have begun this "re-farming" for more efficiency, including UK and Canada. Everyone has it in their plans because it's more efficient and hence cheaper. Sprint intends to do that with the Nextel spectrum and AT&T has discussed similar. It takes time, because you have to change out all the handsets, but using existing spectrum more efficiently saves so much money the carriers are doing it almost universally.
Much spectrum lies purely fallow, about enough to carry us without upping capex about 5 years (FCC figure, badly calculated) or 10+ years (Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon and most technical people as opposed to lobbyists.) Most of the rest is used by older 2G and 3G tech (both voice and data) and has 2-4x the capacity with today's technology.
Hence, T (and almost every one else) is using only 10-30% of the capacity of their spectrum. They know this and are rapidly upgrading backhaul (2010-2011 primary problem) and radios. They are discussing plans to switch users from 2G voice - still what's in 3G and 4G handsets - to 4G voice over IP/LTE over the next few years.
AT&T's announced 2011 backhaul upgrades - from 20% GigE fiber or 100 meg microwave to 70% - will yield 500% more capacity for data this year alone. »fastnetnews.com/a-wireless-cloud···-in-2011 They are using it to go from 7.2 meg to 20 and 40 meg HSUPA+ and LTE.
A 300% improvement in bandwidth implies 75% of capacity was unused.
| |bigunkGort, Klattu Birada Nikto
Re: :( Jay Leno said it best on last night's show:
"Now they're going to corner the market on dropped calls!"
T-Mobile's exit strategy Personally, I think that T-Mobile has been struggling internally for some time now to figure out if it was worth staying in the US market. They have not enjoyed high margin cash infusion that would allow them to pay for more rapid buildouts and platform upgrades. I think they were in a rock and a hard place financially and did not see a good forecast on the horizon given that situation. I think this whole deal was orchestrated for them to exit the market without looking like the bad guy to their customers and put a good chunk of cash in their pockets at the same time. Better to sell your assets while they are still worth something, rather than let the service implode on itself over the coming years.
So, we may all cry foul at at&t but I think that they are just taking advantage of a situation that was going to happen one way or another. I don't believe there was any hostile takeover going on here. T-Mobile offered them a gift, wrapped in a bright pink bow. (I do think it is quite ironic given the mud slinging ad campaigns of late) But, you can't blame at&t. They are only doing what they are supposed to do for their shareholders. Organic growth is not always enough to satisfy your investors.
Ultimately, the Federal Government could step in and decide that this deal is very bad for consumers and they could block it. This alternative outcome might actually be worse in the long run. T-Mobile may then be forced to attempt a spin-off or sell at a fire sale. Either way, the resulting entity would likely have nowhere near the financial leverage to sustain any real growth or competition against the incumbents. So, in the end, the net effect might be worse for the market than an at&t buyout. Having 2 mediocre competitors will do nothing to pull prices downward for the other 2.
Either way, I think that Verizon and Sprint stand to gain a large number of ex-T-Mobile subscribers. You can count me on that list.
Scott, CCIE #14618 Routing & Switching