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Verizon Tells FCC They're Running Out of Spectrum
Defends Cable Industry Deal From Critics
by Karl Bode 08:45AM Tuesday Mar 06 2012
Last week we noted that for some time, Verizon has stated they have plenty of spectrum for LTE, executives going so far recently as to state their holdings are so robust, they're in absolutely no hurry to refarm spectrum from their EVDO network. With consumer groups and competitors protesting the anti-competitive ramifications of their new spectrum and marketing deal with the cable industry, Verizon is back again to claiming spectrum poverty in order to sell the deal to the FCC.

In a filing with the FCC (pdf), Verizon defends the deal from critics and notes it simply has to happen or a spectrum apocalypse will occur sometime after 2015. They've of course conveniently redacted any and all data that would help one conclude how exactly they came to that conclusion despite already sitting on more spectrum than any other company:
quote:
...network infrastructure investments will not be adequate to keep pace with the projected mobile data demand in years 2013 to 2015 and beyond. Indeed, even in markets where Verizon Wireless holds 20 MHz of AWS spectrum already – spectrum it plans to deploy in the LTE network [REDACTED]– it will need more spectrum to meet demand. Given the projected [REDACTED] in data traffic year over year, even the most optimistic assumptions involving the deployment of widespread small cells and other techniques would not provide sufficient capacity by the end of that two-year period.
Verizon currently has a spectrum depth of 29MHz on the 700MHz band, significantly more than their closest competitor (AT&T, 16MHz of spectrum depth). Studies show both AT&T and Verizon have plenty of spectrum for LTE, particularly after re-farming spectrum currently being used for 2G and 3G (EVDO) services. Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead stated just weeks ago that everything was fine, and that refarming EVDO spectrum was "not something that's of great concern right now." While the spectrum deal would certainly give Verizon some added leg room, Verizon has quickly reverted to trying to claim spectrum poverty to push the deal through.

The deal's primary benefit comes in the marketing arrangement with the cable industry, which allows Verizon to bundle LTE service with cable services across the entire United States. It's a deal consumer groups and competitors worry comes with a "gentlemen's agreement" to limit landline competition between Verizon and the cable industry. As for the capacity crisis, it's trotted out each time AT&T or Verizon want to justify anti-competitive behavior, with the mainstream press never willing to acknowledge that maybe -- just maybe -- the two giants are eager to squat on as much spectrum as possible to keep wireless competitors out of the market.

Update: Verizon apparently has enough spectrum to feel confident in launching a new fixed residential LTE service this morning in addition to partnering with the cable industry on the quadruple play.

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pandora
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
kudos:2
Reviews:
·ooma
·Google Voice
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·Future Nine Corp..

Is there an engineer who understands this stuff?

Is there an engineer who understands this stuff, looked at the Verizon report, and has an informed opinion?

Re-farming spectrum sounds nice, but if it leaves millions of Verizon users out in the cold, we'll be reading the denunciations from this same author.
--
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Re: Is there an engineer who understands this stuff?

I'm not an engineer, but I understand this stuff. Here's basically what it boils down to:

1) Verizon currently owns more low-band spectrum than any other national carrier. This puts them in a very favorable position, and at the moment there is no feasible way for them to run out of spectrum, and the competitive advantage of their 700/800 MHz holdings providing far superior range than competitors' AWS/PCS holdings making them virtually untouchable. Then only other carrier to hold as much low-band spectrum is AT&T.

2) Any carrier can supplement their capacity by detuning existing cell sites and putting up new cells (more sites, same coverage area). For example, let's say AT&T (or Verizon, or whoever) serves Manhattan, NYC as well as Kenosha, Wisconsin. Let's assume both areas are using CLR 800MHz spectrum. How can you serve an area with millions of people and one with just tens of thousands with the same amount of spectrum? Smaller cells. AT&T could do this as well, but they would rather cry about spectrum, too.

3) Adding more cells costs money, much more than buying new spectrum and squatting on it until you need it. Verizon is in the tricky position of balancing the fact that they are basically untouchable in the spectrum department, yet still don't want to have to spend more money than they have to. They have always run their cell spacing far, far wider than any other carrier due to the inherent qualities of CDMA making it possible to do so, and don't want to start running a more dense network now.

4) AT&T already has a pretty dense network, and doesn't want to have to spend more money making it any denser, so they too want more spectrum. That's what the T-Mobile buy was about. So basically, it's a tradeoff of opportunity cost. Any carrier can serve their customers well by running a super-dense network in congested areas. It's always cheaper to add channels than whole new sites, detuning old ones and turning up new ones. It's not free.

The questions which no one except telco financial insiders can answer is whether they will really go bankrupt if they have to build dense networks, or if they are just greedy telco suits who want bigger bonuses and golden parachutes. Knowing standard telco operating procedure, I think we all know the answer to that question.

anonimust

@verizon.net

Re: Is there an engineer who understands this stuff?

Another problem with making cell sites denser is what do you do when municipalities and residents put up a fit about putting up a new tower?

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: Is there an engineer who understands this stuff?

Then they won't get cell service because tx power at more distant towers will need to come down.
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Re: Is there an engineer who understands this stuff?

Exactly. If you live in an area where there are a bunch of whining luddites, then I recommend you move. I have absolutely no sympathy for the NIMBYs.

In fact, I as a cell carrier, I would make sure that my customer data system had huge red flags and error messages pop up when customers who lived in the NIMBY areas called in. It would list the exact name of the complainants or local boards that have whined about/blocked additional cell sites from going up.

The CSRs would be instructed to tell any customer who calls in for a capacity-related issue to please contact their local utility board or, barring that, give the exact names of those complaining so that their issues can be addressed.

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: Is there an engineer who understands this stuff?

Your company's counsel would probably advise you not to go quite so far as to give out names. Though they're public record, some CSR would get carried away in how they presented the information, and the Luddites would publicly accuse your company of intimidation.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Phase out 2G and 3G

and you have plenty of spectrum.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

An easy sale to the FCC

With the FCC constantly claiming there is a spectrum shortage, getting them to approve this spectrum sale to Verizon should be an easy sale. Approving this deal fits right in to what the FCC has been preaching for several years now.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: An easy sale to the FCC

What the masters of the FCC have been having them preach for several years now, yes.

I also forsee easy approval. Not because it's right, but because it's what the industry wants.

Meanwhile the FCC delays the decision on Dish's LTE build to review facts. Uh huh. The transparency here is well.... transparent.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
ricklerre

join:2009-06-22
Brooklyn, NY

Sale sounds fine, the deal isn't

This is really just transferring spectrum from a large duopoly Company that wants to vertically integrate, to another one that already is vertically-integrated, but is more likely to use the spectrum faster. I really don't see any problem with this spectrum transfer if it was a purely cash transaction.

It seems like this would be a really good instance of a situation where some substantive deal conditions would be very effective, maybe the FCC's new found chutzpah will let itself out again. Maybe not.

NO to ESPN

@sbcglobal.net

Time to Rethink Cell Phones

The answer is to prohibit streaming of video or other large files. Phones are for talking, texting, and some use of internet.

The same prohibition would apply to iPads and similar devices. There is no reason for someone to watch a basketball game on a phone or other portable device.

That is my opinion and your mileage may vary.

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: Time to Rethink Cell Phones

Maybe I'd rather watch movies than talk on the phone. Ultimately, smaller, lower power cells will be needed to that spectrum can be reused.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by NO to ESPN :

The answer is to prohibit streaming of video or other large files. Phones are for talking, texting, and some use of internet.

The same prohibition would apply to iPads and similar devices. There is no reason for someone to watch a basketball game on a phone or other portable device.

That is my opinion and your mileage may vary.

Then these companies need to eliminate mandatory data plans.

Also I paid for the device it's not up to you to decide what I should be doing with it. Also thee is wi-fi. So if I'm watching video via Wi-Fi WTF is it to you?

NO to ESPN

@sbcglobal.net

Re: Time to Rethink Cell Phones

Wi-Fi on a cable or DSL line is not a problem. My issue is with using the mobile cell bandwidth for questionable items. If I break down on the side of the road and I cannot get voice due to overloading then I am rather upset. This is beginning to happen on the west side of Houston near I-10 on Verizon.

Anyone who puts a Wi-Fi router on a mobile cell line should have their favorite parts removed in the most painful manner possible.

That is my opinion and your mileage may vary.

Somnambul33t
L33t.
Premium
join:2002-12-05
Blackwood, NJ

Re: Time to Rethink Cell Phones

i'd rather have data than traditional voice every time. data gives me all the natural advantages, like streaming video, social networking, and navigation, while also providing calling and messaging.
Expand your moderator at work

skuv

@rr.com
said by NO to ESPN :

The answer is to prohibit streaming of video or other large files. Phones are for talking, texting, and some use of internet.

The same prohibition would apply to iPads and similar devices. There is no reason for someone to watch a basketball game on a phone or other portable device.

That is my opinion and your mileage may vary.

But it's not all about phones. Verizon is selling LTE service as an alternative to DSL. LTE phones use the same spectrum as the fixed LTE modems used to supplant DSL.

So you can't falsely limit video on cell phones while allowing everything on a home LTE connection.
markinect

join:2011-01-20
Lansing, MI

the most spectrum

First they say art has the most spectrum now it's Verizon DSL really need to make up their mind.
firedrakes

join:2009-01-29
Arcadia, FL

Re: the most spectrum

its all bs to. to charge more money etc
MrHappy316
Wish I had my tank
Premium
join:2003-01-02
Monterey, CA

Game?

This must be a game, I'll take who can sit on the most spectrum for $100 Alex?

WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5

Re: Game?

said by MrHappy316:

Alex?

No no...You choice should be in the form of a statement. Your *answer* has to be in the form of a question.

Somnambul33t
L33t.
Premium
join:2002-12-05
Blackwood, NJ
i'll take "i want the best service for the price and i dont give a crap about anything else" for $2000"