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Tag Archives: Verizon

Verizon, AT&T to Improve Network Communications for Law Enforcement

With the help of Axon, a law enforcement technologies company, Verizon and AT&T are working to increase their connectivity solutions for public safety.

Axon integrates wireless technology into a range of products for law enforcement to capture and upload photo and video data into the digital evidence management solution, Evidence.com. Wireless product offerings include body-worn cameras, in-car camera systems and Signal technology that reports events such as a patrol vehicle door opening and light bar activation. Dependable wireless connectivity is crucial for law enforcement to be able to capture and upload evidence.

AT&T, Verizon Launch ‘5G’ But it’s Not Exactly What 3GPP Had in Mind

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

Verizon today announced that it has plans to launch 5G technology in Houston as part of its four market 5G plan in the second half of 2018. Verizon previously announced Sacramento and Los Angeles.

AT&T announced last week that it is adding Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; and Oklahoma City to its list of cities where it is building out 5G. These cities will join its previously announced cities of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas. Before the end of the year six more cities will join the list. But it will not have the features that the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), originally intended for the 5thgeneration of wireless.

The 3GPP, which comprises seven telecom standard groups, uses a calendar-based plan for successive releases designed to provide developers with a stable platform for the implementation of additional features. Originally, the features that comprise the 5G standard were due out at in October 2020 with Release 16. Then the “race to 5G” began on a number of different levels, from government spectrum allocation to carrier marketers.

According to sources, pressure the marketing departments pushed 3GPP to move its deadline for Release 16 back to the end of 2019; and Release 15, which gave us the non-standalone “New Radio” was renamed 5G Phase 1 and Release 16 became 5G Phase 2.

Release 16 will have more features than Release 15, more capacity, a platform for IoT and additional spectrum bands.

All headlines aside, even when Release 16 comes out at the end of next year, it will still take 12 to 18 months to produce product, test it and deploy it in the field. So consumers will not begin to experience full-featured 5G until the late 2020-2021 timeframe.

The two-step process created for 5G actually might be good for towers. Release 15 requires new radios be installed on all the towers, and Release 16 will require another touch on the towers with new antennas. This might explain the pressure from AT&T to lower its costs for amendments to existing towers.

Meanwhile, Back at the LTE Deployment

While 5G has all the cache, the real advancements regarding data speed are coming from the AT&T’s deployment of LTE Advanced technology (AT&T calls it 5G Evolution), which provides theoretical speeds of 400 megabits per second in 140 markets. Additionally, the carrier has launched LTE-LAA in parts of eight markets –– Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; San Jose, California; Tampa, Florida; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama –­– bringing it to a total of 15 markets. Using carrier aggregation, LTE-LAA has peak theoretical wireless speeds reaching up to 1 gigabit per second.

J. Sharpe Smith
Senior Editor/eDigest
J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 29 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with  Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.  Sharpe Smith may be contacted at: ssmith@aglmediagroup.com.

American Tower Noncompete Clause Rattles Tower Service Contractors

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

The wireless infrastructure industry is abuzz over a letter contained in an email that American Tower sent to its contractors last week, expressing its concern about the practice of building new towers near existing towers.

The letter responds to wireless communications carrier efforts to lower their antenna space rental costs by building towers near sites where they already have antennas and where they believe the rent is too high. The letter from American Tower says the practice of placing new towers nearby, known as overbuilding, is “not sustainable or scalable.”

“American Tower believes that building such towers is unnecessary, short-sighted and reckless,” the letter from Jared Morley, director of supply chain at American Tower reads. “It harms existing landlords, needlessly clutters otherwise peaceful neighborhoods, wastes precious resources and does nothing to improve the coverage, capacity or quality of today’s stressed wireless networks.”

The letter includes a noncompete amendment to American Tower’s master contract agreements. By signing the amendment, a contractor agrees to not to work for a wireless communications provider on any “new wireless communications asset” within one-half mile from an American tower site. If that agreement is violated, American Tower reserves the right to remove the contractor from its preferred contractor list.

Contractors have until June 15 to sign the agreement and until Aug. 17 to discontinue any work that is not allowed in the agreement.

A battle between a public tower company and the carriers is not really too surprising. It has been coming on for a while.

Last year, the carriers took direct actions to lower tower costs. In November 2017, AT&T and Verizon opted to use Tillman Infrastructure to build towers for their use and committed to leasing and co-anchoring the towers. The purpose was to make it possible to relocate equipment to new towers as leases for space on current towers expire. As recently as April 26, AT&T continued to move away from the traditional tower building and leasing model by signing a build-to-suit agreement with CitySwitch. Under the agreement, CitySwitch will begin tower construction as early as the second half of 2018 and will lease completed sites to AT&T.

SoftBank Group’s $400 million joint venture with Lendlease Group to develop or buy 8,000 towers and rooftop sites will reduce site rental costs for Sprint.

Tower contractors have been caught in the middle of the feud between AT&T and American Tower and essentially will have to choose sides. Some said they believe the letter was heavy-handed, and they feel blindsided by it. Some also expressed concerns that the amendment is too vague. Although the letter asks them not to participate in the development of any new towers, the amendment uses broader language, referring to new wireless communications assets.  They say, the broader language would keep contractors from laying fiber, or installing in-building wireless or outdoor DAS and small cell systems, within a half-mile of an American Tower site.

Some contractors also complained about the letter’s tight deadlines. For some, signing the noncompete amendment to the master contract will probably be a no-brainer. American Tower will provide them with far more work than any company overbuilding for the carriers. Some companies will no doubt test American Tower’s resolve and refuse to sign, while others simply do not know whether to sign the new agreement. Either way, the clock is ticking.

J. Sharpe Smith
Senior Editor/eDigest
J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 29 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with  Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.  Sharpe Smith may be contacted at: ssmith@aglmediagroup.com.

Incubator Using Pre-commercial 5G, AR to Enhance Learning

As the wireless infrastructure industry builds the backbone of tomorrow’s 5G networks, startups and universities are developing ways to take advantage of high data speeds and low latency.

Verizon has shared some of the action going on at its 5G incubator in New York City, using technologies such as augmented reality (AR). Students at NYU’s Future Reality Lab are using Verizon’s pre-commercial 5G technology to develop ChalkTalk, an open source AR learning tool that renders multimedia objects in 3D.

High speed wireless data and low latency required to facilitate interactive, real-time educational content in a mobile environment, allowing students and instructor to share and respond to that content as if they were in the same location when, in fact, they could be miles apart.

Verizon Stands by Millimeter Wave Spectrum Choice

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said extensive testing has given the carrier confidence in the role of millimeter waves in its fixed 5G deployment during an interview with David Faber on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” last week.

“We had 11 markets up last year in testing with hundreds of cell sites proving that millimeter wave is an outstanding set of spectrum for this,” McAdam said. “So we have been plowing money into this within our capital budget for the last three years and we’re going to be commercial.”

The comments came in response to criticism by T-Mobile head John Legere, who claimed that the propagation of the millimeter band is so limited that Verizon would need an unsustainable number of antennas. McAdams said Verizon was disproving popular myths about millimeter wave and suggested that statements that an antenna must be with in 200 feet of a house might be driven by competitive jealousy.

“We tested for more than a year, so we could see every part of foliage, every storm that went through, and we have busted the myth that it has to be line of sight,” McAdams said. “We’re now designing the network for over 2,000 feet from transmitter to receiver, which has a huge impact on our capital need going forward.”

Verizon just added Los Angeles as its second fixed non-standalone 5G last week, McAdam announced on the CNBC show, joining Sacrament. By the end of the year the carrier is expected to have four markets using fixed non-standalone 5G. (Hint: Boston and Washington DC are two of its best markets)

“We’ll literally have more than 1,000 cell sites up and operating on the global [non-standalone] standard. We’ve got CPE [customer premise equipment] for fixed wireless applications in the intelligent home with home appliances and broadband, Alexa, Siri, and things like that,”

When mobile devices come available, Verizon plans to quickly move into a mobile environment. “The beauty of how we’re architecting our network is that it’s a multipurpose network,” McAdam said. “So, whether we offer fixed wireless or mobile or enterprise service, it doesn’t matter. That allows us to drive our costs down and serve more customers.”

McAdam said Verizon’s accumulate assets, including 36 million miles of fiber and spectrum from XO Communications and Straight Path Communications, allow it to offer “ultrawideband 5G.”

“So we will literally have hundreds of megahertz of bandwidth to deliver a full suite of services of 5G,” he said, “with improved latency and throughput and the literally thousands of times the capacity of 5G … for about 1/10thof what 4G costs today.”

Additionally, McAdams refuted recent reports that the United States trails China in 5G development.

“I can’t say where [China is] in their process, but this is a three-year journey for us,” he said. “We started with global standards. We worked with the other carriers around the world and the equipment suppliers, like Ericsson and Nokia and Samsung. And so I’m not sure what is not happening in the market, but I think China is working hard to stay with up us.”