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Verizon: Cable Deal Delayed Spectrum Apocalypse a Few Years
Verizon's Spectrum Doomsday Moves From 2015 to 2016 or 2017
by Karl Bode 10:46AM Thursday Sep 20 2012
In order to get their landmark deal with the cable industry approved, Verizon recently trotted out the reliable old capacity crisis bogeyman, despite previously stating on the record they had plenty of spectrum for LTE deployment. Verizon claimed that if the deal wasn't approved they would run out of spectrum by 2015 (aka three years), but failed to back up this claim with, well, any actual numbers whatsoever.

Now that their $3.8 billion spectrum and marketing deal with cable has been approved, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo this week stated that the company probably has about 4-5 years before we need to start worrying about the spectrum end of days again (a net gain of just a few short years). Again, no math was provided:
quote:
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Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, Shammo said there is now no real urgency for the next four to five years. That said, he noted that over time as usage on the carrier's EV-DO network declines, Verizon will start repurposing some of its 3G spectrum for LTE service. Shammo was speaking in place of Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam, who had been scheduled to appear at the conference.

The Verizon finance chief said that by mid-2013 the company will have filled in its 3G coverage footprint with LTE service using its 700 MHz spectrum. At that point, he said, Verizon may start deploying its AWS spectrum for LTE in certain cities.
Verizon is about to sell off their 700 MHz Lower A and B Block spectrum, most of which will likely go to whoever has the deepest pockets (read: AT&T). Both AT&T and Verizon make generous use of the "spectrum apocalypse bogeyman" in order to get regulatory approval for spectrum acquisitions they may or may not actually need (actual deployment versus hoarding to prevent competitive market entry). Generally, the press, analysts politicians and regulators all like to pretend that neither company engages in the latter.

It didn't work well for AT&T's ham-fisted attempted takeover of T-Mobile, but Verizon's more nuanced attempt to terrify regulators into compliance seemed to work quite well, despite the massive anti-competitive wireline implications of the cable deal. It helped them that FCC boss Julius Genachowski really, really wants his legacy to be "the man who cured the nonexistent spectrum crunch." Again, there isn't a lack of spectrum so much as there's too much inefficiently used spectrum, and that's certainly not solved by letting AT&T and Verizon hoard the lion's share of it in their corporate cupboards.

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tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

is there a pendulum anymore?

regulators are probably waiting until they BUILD it to crash down the regulation hammer on rates & terms of service.. otherwise it wouldn't get done, now would it?

obviously they've learned from what they've done in wireline.. so let them build it thinking they can have perpetual unlimited price increases and decreased competition, then whammo..
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: is there a pendulum anymore?

will never happen. The companies will argue that the FCC nor gov't can force TOS nor rates. Especially since wireless is not a "regulated" service such as wireline.

They could split them up or charge them with anti-trust but they'd have to prove it and the chances of that happening are very slim to nothing. Especially with the FCC themselves having little to no power over anything but radio.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

Re: is there a pendulum anymore?

I agree; that will be the argument and splitting them up would be a good outcome for users.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: is there a pendulum anymore?

What would you split up? National companies with economies of scale into regional operators? That doesn't help anyone.

Better to add common carrier regulations to any wireless service that only offers usage based billing to new customers.
tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Speakeasy

Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

Because very few can afford it..

Verizon new prices are already through the roof.
Thus limiting the amount LTE usage indefinitely.

Their might be a couple of cities which could use more spectrum..
But that's it.. Price will regulate usage/need..
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

70 Mbps of capacity over an entire, large, 700MHz cell sector is not enough in even medium-sized towns. Even with exorbitant pricing for data (which amounts to, marginally, $5 per GB after the first few, so long as you prepay for usage rather than getting overages).
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

Concur, but a lot of people (myself included) ask this question: Why aren't they making full use of what they already have? My old hometown had a heavily congested 3G network, to the point of sub-dialup speeds during the day. In that market they own the Cellular B license, along with the PCS C and F blocks.

Near as I can tell, they don't use the PCS licenses for anything. None of my phones ever connected on the PCS bands, for voice or data, nor have any of the other ones I have access to. The only time I saw a phone connect to PCS was when it was within range of a Network Extender (femtocell). Granted, PCS doesn't have the reach of cellular, but deploying services on PCS would have alleviated some of the burden on the cellular data channel(s), so why not do it?
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

Kind of surprised that they could do that without running afoul of FCC regulations, but I've got an easy answer as to why they don't have anything on that band: PCS C and F are adjacent, allowing for 20MHz of uninterrupted FD spectrum. The iPhone, at least, supports 20MHz FD-LTE channels in PCS. So if Verizon can keep their PCS holdings unoccupied, they can (someday) turn on an FD-LTE network that will blow the doors off anything short of Clearwire, and with more coverage.

So there's a method to VZW's madness in this case.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

Hmm, interesting take on it. I hadn't considered that. I still wonder why they are content to let the 3G network deliver such atrocious performance. I had hoped it would get better up there when they lit up the 4G network but it hasn't, there are still portions of my commute where the 3G network is virtually unusable. I can even identify the individual base stations that are always congested, and accordingly plan my usage of the network during my lengthy commute to work. If they lit up IS-95/EvDo services on PCS would they be able to reuse some of the equipment (antennas and cabling, if nothing else) for a future LTE deployment? Is an antenna an antenna or does LTE need some special antenna configuration that isn't compatible with other air interfaces?

Another random thought, but if they had the PCS bands lit up, perhaps the network wouldn't have failed us so quickly during the floods last year? They lost a number of low lying base stations, and the remaining ones simply couldn't handle the load. For about three days we had great difficulties using the voice network, it ranged from "try ten times and your call will go through" to "doesn't work at all unless you make your call at 3am", depending on where you were. There were even periods when SMS stopped working. This was a minor inconvenience to me, I stayed dry and have a POTS line, but it was huge problem for the first responders, as well as the people who got displaced.

In that same vein, I've wondered why they didn't kill the EvDo network during the floods, so they'd have an extra channel or two for the voice network. Surely voice services are more important than data during a natural disaster? The EvDo network wasn't usable anyway, but it was still turned up, and I've always wondered why.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

Without going into too much detail (I'll do that later), LTE antennas...and the radios behind them...are configured quite differently (ideally) than legacy CDMA gear. Look up Remote Radio Heads to see what I'm talking about.

As for why they didn't kill EvDO in favor of voice, I'm pretty sure that an EvDO line card can't do 1x, and vice versa.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

said by iansltx:

I'm pretty sure that an EvDO line card can't do 1x, and vice versa.

Right, but what stops them from just shutting down EvDO and reassigning the channel to voice service? Would it be a limitation of the 1x line cards, they can only handle so many simultaneous channels or some such?

Mostly idle curiosity on my part, but seeing the failure of the cellular network did reinforce my belief that POTS is worth the $0.80/day it costs.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: Actually.. their will never be a Spectrum Apocalypse..

Probably lack of available line cards.

Black_Mage
My backup spell is Warp
Premium
join:2012-09-12
USA
kudos:1

LoL

This Spectrum Apocalypse, like their terms of service, is subject to change. That's why no man knows the exact hour.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: LoL

It all depends on how much Verizon is willing to pump into making existing bands more efficient. Splitting 700MHz cells is a nightmare if done incorrectly (less coverage, angry users). Refarming PCS and CLR decreases 3G/voice capacity. So the easiest way to increase capacity is to grab even more spectrum.
SatManager

join:2011-03-17
North Las Vegas, NV

Migration of Service

Just as was done with analog service, the carriers will have to migrate all users to the more efficient LTE service. So those with phones that are only capable of 2G/3G services will have to purchase a new LTE phone. While bandwidth is going to have to be refarmed (hopefully we can get to a true worldwide frequency band) to support an increase in usage, they will also have to start a prioritization of voice service (VoLTE) with attention to 911 service.
sides14

join:2007-11-29
Glendale, AZ

Spectrum Crisis....what spectrum crisis?

The use of the spectrum apocalypse is factually incorrect. The answer is to build more sites to reduce the RF footprint which will result in better service and expanded coverage. Unfortunately, the carriers do not want to build additional site because they cost more money than just adding another carrier to maintain the existing RF footprint. There should be a mandate of x-number of cell density for existing airwaves before carriers can purchase additional spectrum. There will be instances in which adding a cell site is prohibited by local municipalities, but there are ways around that.

NOCMan
MacChatter
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Colorado Springs, CO

Spectrum Crisis is a straw man

If they're worried about how many calls a tower can take at a time in a pure data world, they have to up the speeds users can download. Faster downloads = less time on air.

If they're worried about how many calls are up at the same time, then yes they need to work on call/data call capacity.
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