5G mmWave: Escaping “Plato’s Cave”

Avatar photoPublished on
5G mmWave: Escaping "Plato's Cave"

fibeReality has strived to demonstrate that Verizon Wireless’ reasoning behind its obsession with enabling mmWave spectrum has no other logical basis than to provide the necessary backbone for loads of downlink capacity to its subscribers. We have even pointed out that the explanation has been roughly exposed publicly perhaps as a trial balloon to see if there would be any negative ramifications on its corporate valuation. In the meantime, there continues to be the paradox of industrywide excitement of T-Mobile increasingly taking on additional customers, which only exposes the operator further to inadequate capacity delivery in the future.

Also being ignored is the anguish of the AT&T network planners in having insufficient mmWave enabled to adequately support its customers moving forward. Certainly, there are business relationships between suppliers and buyers, which just naturally preclude an open discussion of the truth. However, once again, there are the trade press and market research firms, which are only interested in maintaining the regular agenda and refusing to engage in the necessary market intelligence gathering to get to the bottom of the matter.

Our point of view have been widely disseminated throughout the world and has yet to be directly challenged. There have also been a couple of past statements made by Verizon’s top leadership on 5G, which offer additional evidence of the corporation’s strategic direction. (For lots of other unique intelligence on 5G, please see our report.)

An insightful comment was made by Verizon’s CEO, Hans Vesberg in an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2018 when he was asked about being “confident…[in] recoup[ing] the investment in the [5G] network.” He responded: “You would invest in the network anyhow.”

There could be only be one rational explanation for building infrastructure in which there was not a reasonable expectation of providing an ROI. It is essential to the continuing operation of its wireless business.

Then there was another apparent attempt recently at kite-flying, especially in distinguishing 5G from previous wireless generations, with the former being more infrastructure-centric. The remark came from Executive VP and CFO, Matt Ellis, only a couple of months ago, at the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet & Communications Conference (Virtual).

Ellis said,  “5G is the first mobile technology that wasn’t created for consumers. Primarily, it was created for business and society, right? So we now have the ability to move enterprise-scale amounts of data over the wireless network (italics added for emphasis).

While the answer was supposedly in the context of serving businesses, the use of the word, “society,” is somewhat awkward in inadvertently stressing an undeserved nobility of purpose. Still, it is also an extremely effective means of pointing out the generalized nature of 5G in providing enormous pipes as its primary purpose as opposed to being driven specifically by any individual applications. Interestingly, although Ellis indicated that he was echoing Vesberg, to the best of our knowledge, it was the first time that 5G was described by Verizon in this specific manner publicly.