Sort by:[Date]

Sprint's Response to T-Mobile's Free Video Streaming- 50% off Promo! David Dixon of FBR &Co.

On the heels of T-Mobile US's Un-Carrier X free video streaming  announcement last week to drive sales, this afternoon Sprint announced  a simplified 50% off promotion to help drive higher sales volume,  leveraging the improved network performance post the Network Vision upgrade and optimization.

The previous "Cut Your Bill in Half" promotion was difficult to execute due to grandfathered plans and discount complexities. The new plan is simplified in that it only applies to existing plans and includes a choice to maintain pricing. Management believes over 50% of switching customers will opt for a larger data plan at the same price versus a 50% cut, which should ease profitability concerns.

With LTE Plus now in 77 cities and numerous number one awards in RootMetrics in 2H15 testing (~108 awards),
management is wise to cut price now because perceived network quality remains poor, in our view. Over 50% of the base (and 100% of additions) leverage three spectrum bands (800 MHz, 1.9 GHz, and 2.5  GHz) to deliver higher download speeds. The company is confident the offer will generate sufficient volume to be accretive to earnings.

■ Offer details. The new 50% off promotion will apply to the current base service plan and access charges for any customer who switches from TMUS, T, or VZ and includes payment of up to $650 in early termination fees (which many customers keep despite the credit rating impact).

■ Contractual period. Lower pricing will be for 24 months and run until 2018. Existing Sprint customers can get a free Alcatel ONETOUCH PIXI 7 tablet with one year of free service (either a $15 per month, 1 GB plan or $10 per month Family Share Pack access) with any new two-year contract.

■ Plan exclusions. The promotion excludes the TMUS $90 unlimited plan as the Sprint $70 unlimited plan is already competitive and this would be dilutive.

■ Promotion timing. The promotion starts on November 20 until year end. The "test drive" period will last 28 days, after which the customer can either stay or leave Sprint without incurring restocking fees. ■ Our thoughts. Sprint needs to show greater sales momentum to ease the pace of revenue erosion. We think this should be accretive as incremental growth is high margin. This is a good window to exploit improved network performance post Network Vision upgrade and optimization. Sprint has been slow to pivot to a new network upgrade plan and is cash constrained, so we need to see acceleration in deployment.

Activities of forums/ standards bodies contributing work to ITU-R 5G (IMT-2020)


In early 2012, ITU-R embarked on a programme to develop “IMT for 2020 and beyond”, setting the stage for “5G” research activities that are emerging around the world.  Here AGAIN is the ITU-R "5G" standardization timeline:
Forums & Standards Bodies working on 5G:

1. NGMN 

Triggered by ITU WP 5D liaison statement, the intention of this liaison response is to inform ITU WP 5D about the NGMN 5G vision, requirements, guidelines and way forward outlined in the NGMN 5G White Paper. Please share the NGMN 5G White Paper with all your relevant working groups or projects and kindly ask them to consider this in their future work.


2. Asia-Pacific Telecommunity 

In its 18th meeting, AWG had a workshop on “Future Mobile Communications (5G)” in order to provide APT members with overview and understanding of on-going activities and initiatives in the world related to “5G”. In the workshop, representatives from relevant organizations presented their views on “5G”. The workshop also had a panel discussion to exchange views with the participants in the workshop. As this workshop was an initial step to start the work on “5G”, AWG currently has no specific planned work items for the remainder of 2015 including activities that might relate to “the general technical performance requirements of a radio interface technology or set of technologies for “5G”.


3.   Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) 

TTC had created FMN-Ad Hoc and the Ad Hoc has been conducting the study towards “5G” mainly in Core Network part including Network architecture, protocols, Transport network, Security aspects, Network Management and so on.

Recently, TTC FMN-Ad Hoc finalized a “TTC White Paper on Future Mobile Networking” and attached it to this contribution.

TTC recognizes that ITU-R Working Party 5D focuses mainly on radio part, however, TTC hopes our White Paper can provide useful information for developing “5G” mobile network in WP 5D.

4. Industrial Technology Research Institute, Inc. (ITRI) 

ITRI has started a 5G project that includes the research and development of mmWave, SDN/NFV, and Ultra-Dense Network technologies. We plan to create a channel model generator and simulator for mmWave. An ultra-dense small cell network will be established at ITRI with the capability to interconnect a remote testbed for joint testing. We will also develop big data analytics for intelligent IoT and mobile broadband on high-speed moving network applications. Recognizing the importance of international collaboration ITRI is cooperating with the European Union on access convergence taking advantage of 5G research results and testbeds at ITRI. An SDO was established recently to enhance our contributions in standardization of “IMT-2020” systems. The above effort is consistent with ITU-R’s vision, capabilities, and technology trends.

5. Fifth Generation Mobile Communications Promotion Forum (5GMF) 

5GMF was established in September 2014 to conduct research & development concerning the fifth Generation Mobile Communications Systems, and research and study pertaining to standardization aimed at the early realization of the Fifth Generation Mobile Communications Systems. 

6. Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) 

This section includes responses that were included in Doc. 5D/991 from the 5G Forum and ETRI.  To respond the request of ITU-R WP 5D, TTA circulated the liaison statement to our members and related organizations in Korea. As a result, two replies from 5G Forum & ETRI were received as shown in attachment, which describes the activities update of each organization. 

In addition to these two replies, there were views on the WP 5D’s particular interest issues such as “the general technical performance requirements of a radio interface technology or set of technologies for 5G” from industries and operators. 
                 8 key capabilities in Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.VISION] would be considered in technical performance requirements in “IMT-2020” , as appropriate. When ITU-R WP 5D develop the evaluation criteria and evaluation method, some capabilities would need to consider the impact of the parameters to the capabilities, e.g., the impact of bandwidth availability to the peak data rate. In this regard, peak data rate can be addressed in terms of peak spectral efficiency & bandwidth. 
                 Regarding the evaluation method, Report ITU-R M.2135-1 could be updated to reflect the usage scenarios of “IMT-2020” described in Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.VISION]. Also, Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.EVAL] needs to be developed by middle of 2017 taking into account new characteristics of channel model for evaluation, such as deployment scenarios, antenna parameters, etc.


7. Activities Update of 5G Forum

5G Forum was established on 30 May 2013 in Korea as an open forum with a vision of “Global leadership and promotion in 5G mobile communication toward 2020”

Around 30 member organizations from operators, vendors, academia and public organizations from domestic and international players are actively participating in 5G Forum activities.

In 5G Forum, 5 sub committees (Global Strategy, Convergence & Services, Spectrum, Wireless Technology, and Network Technology) are responsible for: 

    development for 5G vision and service concepts;


     study on spectrum aspects and identification of potential candidate technologies;


     global collaboration for harmonization and bridging between private and public sectors.


As deliverables of activities, 5G Forum published several white papers on technology, spectrum and services for public access on March 2015 and the documents can be downloaded freely on website


As an outcome of global collaboration, 5G Forum signed MoU with 5GPPP of Europe, IMT-2020 PG of China and 5GMF of Japan and had discussions with other bodies as well. 

Plan for 2015-2016:   For above period, 5G Forum will collaborate with TTA to support the work for ITU-R WP 5D through Korea ITU committee and will coordinate the works for other bodies e.g. 3GPP.  
 In addition, 5G Forum will update the white papers, and will extend the collaboration with other regions/bodies and will foster activities for preparing eco system establishment for 5G commercial services in 2020.


8.  Activities Update of 5G R&D from ETRI

ETRI is leading two important national 5G projects, namely, Quadruple-Thousands (QK) 5G and Giga Korea (GK) 5G projects. 

The QK-5G project (March 2014-Feb. 2018) focusing mainly on below 6 GHz technologies, aims to develop key enabling technologies for the 5G mobile system, which can provide 1 000 times larger wireless transmission capacity, 1,000 times smaller service latency, 1 000 times more connected devices, and 1,000 times lower power consumption (so called Quadruple Thousands), compared with the 4G mobile communications. The project consortium consists of partners from the ICT industry and academia in Korea, including SK Telecom, KMW, KAIST, SNU, and Korea University. The research on the enabling technologies includes conceptual developments and proof-of-concept evaluations of technologies based on the open platform. Currently (during the period of 2014-2015), the project’s main research areas are as follows: 
                 massive MIMO, LTE-unlicensed, low latency access, in-band full duplex, ultra-dense networks, moving networks, and massive connectivity communications. 
The GK-5G project (September 2013-April 2018) aims to develop the 5G mobile system using above 6 GHz frequency bands. The following key performance indicators (KPIs) are mainly handled for mobile broadband scenarios, e.g., at least 1Gbps User Experienced Data Rate, 20Gbps Peak Data Rate, 1ms over-the-air latency and so on. Currently (during the period of 2014-2015), the project’s main research areas are as follows: 
                 dynamic user-centric topologies based on beam-forming; 
                 inter-operability between above 6GHz frequency bands and 4G/below 6GHz frequency bands, e.g., C-plane and U-plane for low latency KPI.


9.  Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF) 

The WWRF provided a detailed summary of events: 
-      The 34th Meeting of WWRF, 21st – 23rd April, 2015, Santa Clara, California, USA.  Theme of the Meeting: Network Virtualisation in the Wireless World 
-      Workshop on “5G Services and Applications” organised by WWRF at VTC 2015 Spring on May 12, 2015, in Glasgow, UK --   Theme of the Workshop: 5G Services and Applications 
-  Workshop on “5G Services and Applications” organised by WWRF at VTC 2015 Spring on May 12, 2015, in Glasgow, UK.   Theme of the Workshop: 5G Services and Applications 
-         “WWRF Workshop - A Business and Enterprise Perspective on the Upcoming 5G Era” at EUCNC 2015 conference (on June 29) in Paris, France 
-   5G Huddle II and WWRF35 meeting. 
-   The WWRF 5G Huddle - Delivering a Sustainable 5G Ecosystem
10.  5G Public-Private Partnership (5G-PPP)
  • 5G PPP is a research program in Horizon 2020 of the EU dedicated to 5G system research
  • Research program is addressing all building blocks of a futurecommunication network and a huge number of huge cases fromvertical sectors
  •  5G Infrastructure Association vision paper publishedat Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelonahttp                      ://
  •  First set of projects started on July 1, 2015
  • PPP Program that will deliver solutions, architectures,technologies and standards for the ubiquitous 5Gcommunication infrastructures of the next decade
 Program Ambitions: Key Challenges / High level KPIs:
  •  Providing 1000 times higher wireless area capacity and more variedservice capabilities compared to 2010•
  • Saving up to 90% of energy per service provided. 
  • The main focus willbe in mobile communication networks where the dominating energyconsumption comes from the radio access network• Reducing the average service creation time cycle from 90 hours to 90minutes•
  • Creating a secure, reliable and dependable Internet with a “zeroperceived” downtime for services provision
  • Facilitating very dense deployments of wireless communication linksto connect over 7 trillion wireless devices serving over 7 billion people
  • Enabling advanced User controlled privacy
More info at:
Other 5G Activities by region/country:


  • ITU-R Visions Group


• Framework Program 7, e.g. METIS and 5GNow projects

• 5G PPP in Horizon 2020

Germany – 5G Lab Germany at TU Dresden

UK – 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at University of Surrey


• Intel Strategic Research Alliance (ISRA)

• NYU Wireless Research Center

• 4G Americas, MoU - signed


• 863 Research Program

• Future Forum

• IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group, MoU - signed

Japan – The 5G Mobile Communications Promotion Forum, MoU - signed

Korea – 5G Forum, MoU - signed

Taiwan – TAICS, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Economic Affairs

Russia – 5GRUS by Russia’s Icom-Invest

CJK White Paper

NGMN – White paper on future requirements

Ericsson-Cisco partnership for "networks of the future" stops short of a merger

On Monday, Ericsson and Cisco announced a multi-faceted partnership to create the networks of the future – and through this, shape the direction of the industry. Ericsson, a leader in wireless network equipment, and Cisco, which dominates the market for Internet gear, will work together to integrate existing equipment. They will combine some sales and consulting efforts and, ultimately, may jointly develop entirely new hardware and services.

Both companies have invested a lot of time in designing this partnership over the past year, according to Ericsson's CEO (see quote below).  

Cisco brings their leading position in IP and a strong presence in enterprise. Ericsson brings leadership in mobile networks,  strength in global services, and strong relationships with the world’s leading service providers.

Ericsson and Cisco together hold more than 56,000 patents, invest $11 billion annually in research and development, and operate more than 76,000 services professionals serving customers in more than 180 countries.

Hans Vestberg, President & CEO of Ericsson:

 "The strength of this partnership lies not just in its scale, but in the depth of the solutions Ericsson and Cisco can now provide to the networking market. It is a market in transition – increasingly mobile, cloud-based, and digital – and customers are seeking end-to-end solutions to reach their full potential.  We have evaluated the impact of acquisitions, our own development, and other strategic opportunities – and this partnership is by far the best way forward. We believe that this partnership will create the most value both for our customers and for Ericsson and Cisco.

For Ericsson, this partnership also fortifies the IP strategy we have developed over the past several years, and it is a key step forward in our own transformation. It will start generating revenues for Ericsson as soon as 2016, ramping up to USD 1 billion by 2018 and building from there."


From the WSJ:

Both companies are coping with challenges that include a slowdown in the smartphone market, a longtime driver of revenues for the telecom companies that are their biggest customers. They also face heightened competition from Huawei, as well as a new threat created by the pending €15.6 billion ($16.8 billion) takeover of Alcatel-Lucent SA by Nokia Corp. Those rivals have expertise in both wireless and Internet technologies, a combination that Cisco and Ericsson hope to now match, said Pierre Ferragu, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

At the same time, the deal underscores a widening recognition of the downsides of large mergers, particularly cross-border transactions that can face regulatory scrutiny in many countries.

“Neither Ericsson or Cisco really believe that these large mergers typically work,” Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s chief executive, said in an interview.

Analysts don’t expect formal reviews by antitrust authorities, but politicians on both sides of the Atlantic may take a close look. Governments have been eager to closely monitor suppliers of equipment regarded as highly sensitive for security and privacy reasons. Huawei has been essentially shut out of the U.S. market after a congressional report deemed it a risk to national security.

For Ericsson, the alliance could help retain its position as the world’s biggest telecom-equipment supplier by sales, just as its Nordic rival Nokia regains strength. Nokia’s takeover of Alcatel-Lucent could create a powerful challenger to both Ericsson and Cisco.

To find new revenues, analysts said, Cisco and Ericsson must develop new products to cope with changes in the networks operated by mobile and wireline carriers—as well as exploit a trend called the “Internet of Things,” which will connect more everyday devices to one another.

The other problem is Huawei, which recently overtook Ericsson in the market for mobile infrastructure equipment, according to analysts at Dell’Oro Group. Huawei received 30% of revenues in that market during the first half of 2015, according to the research firm, compared with 27% for Ericsson and 25% for the combination of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent.

Ericsson’s core business of supplying equipment has suffered from price competition and from the relatively slow rollout of broadband wireless networks, known by the acronym 4G, by its carrier customers.

Cisco also faces pressure from Huawei. Dell’Oro estimates that the Chinese company accounts for 13% of the global router business—Cisco has 49%—but Huawei has displaced Cisco as No. 1 in China.

In the short term, one benefit of the alliance is for Ericsson to resell Cisco networking gear. The Swedish company also has 65,000 service personnel that help advise carriers on how to build networks. Cisco, which has 11,000 service workers, can take advantage of the Ericsson staff, Mr. Robbins said.

Ericsson, which has around 116,240 employees, reported revenue last year of 228 billion Swedish kronor ($26.3 billion). Cisco, which employs 70,000 people, reported revenue of $49.2 billion in its latest fiscal year, which ended in July.

The companies sell some competing equipment, but the overlap is small. Cisco accounted for 1% of the wireless infrastructure market in the first half, while Ericsson accounted for 1% of the routing market, Dell’Oro Group estimates.

An added wrinkle of the partnership concerns patents. Ericsson, a wireless pioneer, claims 37,000 patents to Cisco’s 19,000. The companies said they expected to complete a patent cross-license agreement under which Cisco would pay an unspecified amount to Ericsson for use of its patents.


From Fortune on line magazine:

What exactly the partnership will do is obscured by scores of words of gobbledygook (that’s a technical term) issued by both companies. These refer to a “multifaceted relationship” focused on “networks of the future” that will facilitate the cross-selling of both companies’ “end-to-end product and services portfolio.” (Fortune’s Jonathan Vanian has details here.)

The companies weren't prepared to discuss much about the commercial nature of their "non-deal deal." They said neither company is taking an ownership position in the other, but they predict the combination will result in incremental revenues of $1 billion to each company by 2018.

There was one concrete type of reference to money: Cisco is paying Ericsson a licensing fee for the use of its patents. Cisco’s stock declined a bit, and Ericsson’s rose about the same amount, percentage-wise.

Rather than merging and all the headaches that would ensue, they reached multiple agreements, terms undisclosed, to work more closely together. Centerview Partners, an investment bank, advised on the partnership, according to a news release. That means money is involved.

Why be so cryptic? The kinds of equipment Ericsson and Cisco sell tend to make governments nervous. Nervous governments like to bless mergers before they happen. No merger, no blessing, no problem.

Fortune’s Stacey Higginbotham has a different take on this deal.


Forbes on line magazine:

The partnership comprises a series of agreements spanning everything from reselling and joint sales, to technology cross-licensing, co-innovation and joint professional services, and should it aims at boosting each company’s annual revenues significanly.

“Given Ericsson’s annual revenues of more than USD26 billion and Cisco’s of more than USD49 billion, and opportunities in new enterprise-driven communications and IoT services, we think each company’s goal of driving USD1 billion in new revenues by 2018 based on this strategic partnership is achievable,” said Dana Cooperson, Research Director at global telecoms specialist Analysys Mason

Ericsson’s nearly USD5 billion and Cisco’s over USD 0.7 billion in telecom software professional services is one possible area ripe for growth.

The agreement is described by analysts as an aggressive move positioning Ericsson and Cisco against competitors, like Huawei, HP, and Nokia -Alcatel-Lucent , for dominance as the partners of choice for communication service providers that want to become digital service providers as well.

In fact, the announcement was well received by several high-profile executives of companies like Vodafone AT&T and Verizon. For Robert Gurnani, Verizon’s Chief Information and Technology Architect, it even “has the potential to reshape the industry."

However, according to Cooperson, to make the agreement work, the Swedish and American multinationals will have to abide to certain preconditions. Their ability to pre-integrate solutions based on a common, robust, architecture will have to be of sufficient value in time and money to be compelling to customers.

Clients will need to be comfortable that Ericsson and Cisco are not just strengthening their leading positions in mobile infrastructure, professional services and IP infrastructure to create de facto lock-in. Finally, “the companies will need to show that they are not too big to move quickly to create joint solutions,” Cooperson said.


OPEX Reductions Expected in 2nd Year of Data Center SDN Deployment- why not?


IHS-Infonetics conducted in-depth interviews with service providers that have deployed or plan to deploy or evaluate software-defined networking (SDN) by the end of 2016.  They discovered that 85% of survey respondents expect data center network operating expenses (OPEX) to decrease significantly by the second year of SDN deployment.

Author's note:  Of course, that was one of the driving forces behind moving to SDN in the first place! 

“Service providers expect SDN to deliver a positive return on investment. Our data center SDN study found that providers expect significant OPEX cost reductions within two years of deploying SDN. CAPEX reductions are also expected, and respondents acknowledge they need to invest in equipment and operational processes to get started with SDN,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director for data center, cloud and SDN at IHS.   “In supplying SDN to service providers, open source vendors have the largest opportunity with orchestration software and applications,"  Grossner added.


·     Service provider respondents named Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent/Nuage and VMware as top SDN vendors. Note that none of those use the pure SDN/Open Flow model!

·     Service providers that are scaling up their data centers—investing significant CAPEX in physical servers and virtualization technology—are most likely to deploy SDN

·     Expectations for SDN are clear: simplified network provisioning, network automation, rapid application deployment and interoperability with existing equipment

·     The top data center SDN use cases among operators surveyed are a cloud architecture for the data center, automated application deployment and hybrid cloud.




For the 35-page 2015 IHS Infonetics Data Center SDN Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey, IHS interviewed purchase-decision makers with detailed knowledge of their organization’s data center SDN plans and strategies about plans to evolve their data centers and adoption of new technologies over the next two years. Respondents were asked about SDN deployment drivers, barriers and timing; expected CAPEX and OPEX changes with SDN; use cases; switching technologies; applications; vendors; and more.

To purchase research, please visit:




Raj Jain, PhD: The key characteristics of SDN are programmability that allows policies to be changed on the fly. This allows orchestration (ability of manage a large number of devices), automation of operation, dynamic scaling, and service integration. Combined with virtualization, this also allows multi-tenancy and all of the above benefits to individual tenants as well.

It is important to know what SDN is not. SDN is not separation of control and data plane or centralization of control or OpenFlow. These are all one way to do SDN but alternatives are equally good. Networks can be programmed and policies can be changed without separation of data and control plane, without centralization of control, and without OpenFlow.





IHS-Infonetics Report: Microwave Radio still dominates Mobile Backhaul but Fiber Increasing

The recently released IHS Infonetics Macrocell Mobile Backhaul Equipment report  tracks equipment used to transport mobile traffic. In the report, IHS Technology forecasts a cumulative $45 billion to be spent on macrocell mobile backhaul equipment worldwide over the 5 years from 2015 to 2019.  


·    Worldwide macrocell mobile backhaul equipment revenue declined slightly (-0.6 percent) in 2014 from 2013, to $8.5 billion

·    Demand remains solid from LTE deployment, 3G network expansion and backhaul capacity enhancement, but increasing pressure on equipment pricing is inhibiting revenue growth

·    IP/Ethernet clearly remains the driver of the mobile backhaul equipment market, required to do the heavy lifting for ever-growing mobile bandwidth usage

·    Microwave radio was the largest spending category in 2014, at 47 percent of global mobile backhaul gear revenue, though this segment is projected to decline as more fiber and wireline Ethernet come into play

·    Toward 2019, 5G backhaul demand starts to drive the market, pushing the microwave segment back to modest year-over-year revenue growth

 Analyst Quote:

“While the market has experienced something of a plateau of late as many operators are approaching late-phase LTE deployment having already upgraded their backhaul, renewed growth is definitely on the horizon,” said Richard Webb, research director for mobile backhaul and small cells at IHS. “Developing countries later to the LTE party, such as India, will drive steady growth over the next few years, which will gain extra momentum from early 5G adopters.”


The biannual IHS Infonetics Macrocell Mobile Backhaul Equipment report provides worldwide and regional market share, market size, forecasts through 2019, analysis and trends for macrocell mobile backhaul equipment, connections and installed cell sites by technology. Companies tracked: Accedian, Actelis, Adtran, Adva, Alcatel-Lucent, Aviat Networks, Canoga Perkins, Ceragon, Ciena, Cisco, DragonWave, E-band, Ericsson, FibroLan, Huawei, Intracom, Ipitek, Juniper, MRV, NEC, Overture, RAD, SIAE, Telco Systems, Tellabs, ZTE, others. To purchase research, please visit




Join analyst Richard Webb Oct. 29 at 11:00 AM ET for Leveraging SDN and NFV for Small Cells and Backhaul, an event examining the challenges and opportunities for combining SDN and NFV in the backhaul network. Register here.



Verizon Petitions FCC to provide Wi-Fi calling with TTY waiver

Verizon is  taking steps to enable Wi-Fi voice on its wireless network. The carrier has submitted a petition to the FCC requesting that the regulatory body grant it a waiver identical to the one it gave to AT&T earlier this month for WiFi calling without TTY service.

Enabling Wi-Fi voice calling is problematic for the FCC, because the underlying technology doesn't reliably support TTY (teletypewriter), a decades-old service used by the hearing impaired. AT&T complained to the FCC last month that competitors T-Mobile and Sprint merely disregarded the rules around TTY support when they launched Wi-Fi calling

Verizon plans to research and deploy RTT (real-time text) technology, a successor to TTY. However, the company maintains that it's not ready to roll out the technology across its network just yet. It hopes to do so during the period that its requesting the waiver for—through 2017, or the same length of a waiver that AT&T was granted.

"Verizon plans to meet the same conditions enumerated in the AT&T Waiver Order. Specifically, Verizon agrees to inform its customers through multiple channels that TTY is not supported on these services for calls to 911 and inform customers of alternative means to reach 911 services. Verizon will also inform the Commission and customers of its progress toward the deployment of RTT as described in the AT&T Waiver Order. And Verizon is seeking a waiver for the same duration as that granted to AT&T," according to Verizon's petition.

"Because Verizon is seeking a waiver identical to the waiver granted to AT&T and committing to the same conditions that were fully considered by the Commission on a well-developed record, there is no need for the Commission to seek additional public comment here and the Commission should promptly grant this petition."

If Verizon can get its TTY waiver, then it will be able to support "true" Wi-Fi calling on both iOS and Android devices which would both be able to make calls over Wi-Fi through their native dialers rather than a separate mobile app.  






FCC takes steps to facilitate mobile broadband & nex gen wireless technologies above 24 GHZ

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes new rules for wireless broadband operating in frequencies about 24 GHz.  The NPRM proposes to create new flexible use service rules in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 64-71 GHz bands. It proposes to make these bands available using a variety of authorization schemes, including traditional wide area licensing, unlicensed, and a shared approach that provides access for both local area and wide area networks.

These proposed rules are an opportunity to move forward on creating a regulatory environment in which these emerging next-generation mobile technologies – such as so-called 5G mobile service – can potentially take hold and deliver benefits to consumers, businesses, and the U.S. economy.

"Building off of years of successful spectrum policy, this NPRM proposes to create new flexible use service rules in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 64-71 GHz bands. The NPRM proposes to make these bands available using a variety of authorization schemes, including traditional wide area licensing, unlicensed, and a shared approach that provides access for both local area and wide area networks.

In addition, the NPRM provides a path for a variety of platforms and uses, including satellite uses, to coexist and expand through market-based mechanisms," the FCC wrote in a press release.

CTIA vice president of Regulatory Affairs Scott Bergmann called the NPRM an "important step" towards clearing additional spectrum.  He wrote in a statement:

"Today’s action also reminds us that the diversity of 5G applications will require a broad range of spectrum types, including low  and medium band spectrum, below 3 GHz and between 3 – 6 GHz, as well as streamlined infrastructure siting and more backhaul.  The move to bring to market high band spectrum in bands above 24 GHz offers the potential for increased capacity and speeds, lower lag time and high density connections to unleash the Internet of Things.  We look forward to working with the Commission to address a flexible framework for service in these bands that encourages continued investment and innovation to deliver the next waves of connected wireless applications."

Diminishing Outlook for a DISH Spectrum Deal As Small Cell Deployments Gain Momentum, by David Dixon, FBR

Attribution: This blog post was written by David Dixon of FBR and edited by Alan J Weissberger

Executive Summary:

Competition is dampening returns, but VZ's strategy is on track. Though behind on IoT, densification is helping to address 75% YOY data traffic growth; usage per customer should help augment revenue growth. Chicago and New York should benefit from the launch of unlicensed LTE in 2016 at relatively low cost, with AWS 3 spectrum utilized in 2017/2018. While DISH spectrum leasing provides a free option, VZ is also well positioned to leverage more low-cost capacity spectrum via 150 MHz of 3.5 MHz spectrum (70 MHz of priority access + 80 MHz of unlicensed spectrum).

The industry has rallied around the 3.5 GHz spectrum to build an effective ecosystem that should allow the spectrum to be put into use quickly. This, combined with refarming opportunities in the 850 MHz and 1.9,Ghz bands, has VZ well positioned on the spectrum front. We still think a DISH spectrum acquisition is unlikely, but a leasing agreement could be a useful Plan B, should VZ's small cell strategy run into speed bumps.

Key Points:

■ 3Q15 earnings recap. Consolidated revenue of $33.2B (+5.0% YOY) was ahead of consensus' $33.0B but below our $33.5B estimate, driven by a 5.4% YOY increase in wireless revenue, partially offset by a 2.3% YOY decline in wireline revenue. Consolidated EBITDA of $11.5B were below our Street-comparable estimate of $11.8B. Retail postpaid net adds were 1,289,000, with churn of 0.93% and a retail prepaid net loss of 80,000. The 3Q15 adjusted EPS of $1.04, after a $0.05 non-cash pension re-measurement adjustment, compared to our Street-comparable estimate of $1.02.

■ Divestitures and accounting changes drive lower EPS growth in 2016. Specifically: (1) Converting from a subsidized to installment wireless phone model increased earnings in 2015, as 100% of the equipment sale was recorded as revenue. However, 30% of the base is now not on subsidized pricing (expected to increase to 50% in 2016), normalizing the earnings impact); (2) divested Frontier properties are classified as discontinued operations, driving a $0.13–$0.14 EPS lift from discontinued depreciation expense; (3) a loss of higher-margin properties with stranded centralized costs, with some of the cost savings realized after the labor agreement; (4) losses for start-up businesses.

■ Estimate changes; lower price target. We lower our FY15 and FY16 estimates to account for divestitures, accounting impacts, and lower phone sales volume in 4Q (anniversary of iPhone 6 launch in 4Q14). FY15 revenue/EBITDA/ EPS estimates decline to $131.1B/$46.2B/$3.95, from $131.8B/$46.5B/$3.96; FY16 revenue/EBITDA/EPS estimates decline to $133.0B/$47.2B/$4.03, from $137.1B/$48.4B/$4.12.

Our Thoughts - Time Frames for Impact:

1. Aside from being well positioned on spectrum for the macro network, how what is the small cell opportunity as an alternative to more macro network spectrum going forward?

A change in the industry network engineering business model is underway toward using small cells on dedicated spectrum to manage more of the heavy lifting associated with data congestion. Verizon demonstrated this shift during the AWS3 auction: It modeled a lower-cost small cell network for Chicago and New York. We expect CEO Lowell McAdam to manage this shift from the top down to mitigate execution risk due to cultural resistance from legacy outdoor RF design engineers, whose roles are at risk as the macro network is de-emphasized.

Enablers include the advent of LTE, increased spectrum supply across multiple spectrum bands including LTE licensed, unlicensed (500 MHz of 5 GHz spectrum) and shared frequencies (150 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum), amid a fundamental FCC spectrum policy shift from exclusive spectrum rights to usage-based spectrum rights, which should dramatically increase LTE spectrum utilization (similarly to WIFI).

Previously, outdoor small cells co-channeled with the macro network proved challenging: While they can carry substantial load, they also destroy equivalent capacity on the macro network due to mis-coordination and interference, so the macro network carries less traffic but still looks fully loaded. AT&T discovered this in its St. Louis trials that, in part, steered it toward buying $20 billion of AWS3 spectrum.

However, the industry trend is toward LTE underlay networks, where small cells are put into other shared or unlicensed spectrum with supervision from and/or carrier aggregation with the macro network. It still requires good coordination across all cells for this to work; while Verizon initial proposals for 5 GHz are downlink only, we think uplink will also be used longer term because uplink needs more spectrum resources for a given throughput; we see higher uplink usage trends in the Asian enterprise segment and from Internet of Things (security cameras).

Time frame:12 to 18 Months

2. Does Verizon have sufficient spectrum depth to drive revenue growth longer term? Or does it need to aggressively acquire spectrum in future spectrum auctions or in the secondary market (DISH)?

The short answer is yes. Verizon carries 80% of data traffic on 40% of its spectrum portfolio; its combined nationwide CDMA and LTE spectrum depth is 115 MHz, ranging from 88 MHz (Denver) to 127 MHz (NYC). We expect AWS3 capacity spectrum to be deployed in 2017/18. Investors may not be crediting Verizon with potential to source more LTE spectrum from refarming of CDMA to LTE (22 MHz to 25 MHz) used today for CDMA data (22 MHz to 25 MHz).

Critically, network performance data show Verizon network close to the required performance threshold for a VoLTE-only service, suggesting there is additional refarming potential for the 850 MHz band (25 MHz) used today for CDMA voice and text. This band is likely to be transitioned in 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE slivers to run parallel with the expected linear (voluntary) ramp, versus exponential (forced) ramp in VoLTE service.

More low-band spectrum is key for the surging IoT and M2M segments, which are proving to be more thirsty than "bursty."

Time frame: 2 Years+ 

Millward Brown global survey: On line (OTT) video just as popular as conventional TV

This is a follow on to the recent post noting opposition to the FCC reclassifying linear OTT suppliers as pay tv providers.

A Millward Brown global survey of 13,500 multiscreen viewers concludes that the lure of online video extends to adults of all ages.  The survey polled people who own a TV and either a smartphone or tablet—in 42 countries on what they think about video advertising. People are spending as much time watching online video as they spend watching TV, The survey also found an average online viewing time of 204 minutes a day for people ages 16 to 45, split evenly between TV and online. 

Forty-nine percent of people liked mobile-app videos that reward people with virtual incentives like points for playing games, and 31 percent of consumers responded favorably to skippable mobile preroll ads. Only 14 percent of people said that they liked mobile pop-ups, the ads that take over a screen, and 15 percent tolerated nonskippable video ads.

OTT Market Getting Crowded -- Ooyala

Lot of new OTT players, competing with Netflix.

Source: “Premium Prospects for OTT in the USA” study from MTM, Ooyala and Vindicia


Opposition Mounts: Should FCC regulate linear OTT service providers as pay TV operators (MVPDs)?


FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said there'll be a final vote this fall on his proposal to define real time (AKA date/time or "linear") over-the-top video services as pay TV services that are delivered by multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

Regulation of MVPDs stems from the 1992 Cable Act (approved despite veto of President Bush Sr).  The act was created in order to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide increased consumer protection and to promote increased competition in the cable television and related markets, and for other purposes.

Currently, the MVPDs include cable, satellite, and telecom companies that offer pay TV service. However, real time (date and time or linear) Internet based video services like Dish Networks Sling TV, HBO Go, ESPN3, etc aren’t considered to be MVPDs under the current law. The FCC has proposed changing that law for linear OTT, but not for Video On Demand (VoD) providers.

Wheeler's stated goal is to insure non-discriminatory access to programming for both cable and broadcast. To do that he is seeking to read out the "facilities-based" requirement in the definition of MVPD. Cable operators and over-the-top services alike have registered reservations about that move (see For and Against below).


U.S. law requires that pay TV distributors (like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and DirecTV) and programmers (like NBC, ESPN, and CNN) negotiate “in good faith” over the rights to broadcast content to customers. The distributors have to pay for the content, and the programmers aren’t allowed to indiscriminately withhold those rights.The law established a cumbersome term for pay TV service providers (MVPDs).

The Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to classify over-the-top (OTT) video programming providers as MVPDs if they delver "linear" programming. The FCC proposes that it will facilitate the availability of cable and broadcast television programming to OTT providers and enhance consumer choice and competition in the video market.

The reclassification would require OTT providers to carry certain programming and to comply with other regulations currently imposed on MVPDs like cable providers. The proposal would also give OTT video providers certain legacy negotiating and carriage rights with respect to both cable and broadcast programming. 

The most important implication of that rule change is that programmers would then be forced to negotiate with Internet TV services just as they have to negotiate with cable companies.Services like Dish's Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue currently offer small bundles of channels from companies with which they have been able to strike deals. The same is expected of Apple's widely expected (but unannounced) Internet TV service. However,  if the definition of MVPD is changed to include these new services, they could have access to many more channels, and thus offer a more diverse programming line-up.

The exact implications of reclassification aren’t yet clear, since these Internet-only services are intentionally offering fewer channels than traditional pay TV packages. It’s also worth noting that the rule change wouldn’t affect Netflix and other subscription services that only offer on-demand video; it only applies to live television services. Still, the prospect of a rule change clearly has many companies nervous.

For and Against:

 1. The TV network affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, which aren’t owned by the larger companies of the same name, filed their own comment in favor of the rule change. They’re excited because it would require that internet TV services gain their consent for retransmitting their broadcasts, just like cable companies have to under the 1992 Cable Act.

2.  Disney, Fox, and CBS filed a joint comment to the FCC explaining that they were firmly against changing the definition of MVPD to include internet TV. “The proposal to expand the definition of MVPD raises significant and complex questions that could jeopardize the nascent state of the over-the-top market,” the companies said.Essentially, they argue that market forces have created a healthy environment for internet video to thrive, and that more government regulation is not only unnecessary, but could, as they put it, “limit the opportunity for consumers to obtain their desired video programming in a variety of new manners.” Other programmers, like AMC, and many cable companies, like Cablevision, are against the rule change for similar reasons.


1.  Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), in his first media policy speech as ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, recently advised the FCC to "hit the pause button on regulating streaming video...In the case of defining online video providers as cable companies, I do not think we can say yes," he said.  Pallone added: "Some have urged the FCC to help prop up some video business models through additional regulation. The companies that first asked for help claimed that new entrants must be defined as cable companies if they are to get access to content. They were essentially worried that they could not compete with traditional cable companies without importing cable regulations to the online world.But consumer demand since then has driven the market to create new business models and new ways to distribute programming."

2.  Ajit Pai was one of two FCC commissioners to state his reservations about the proposed rule change after it was announced by Wheeler. Speaking at a Churchill Club breakfast on Friday July 17th, he made his position to the rule change official: "This morning I’d like to make it clear I strongly oppose this proposal.”  Pai went on to lay out the reasoning behind his decision. He said it was important to perpetuate an environment where: “21st century entrepreneurial spirit isn’t saddled with 20th century rules and regulations.” 

Mr. Pai claims the benefits provided to OTT video providers covered by the rule change are illusory. He said that even with the rule change, OTT providers would not fit the definition of a pay TVprovider being used by the patent office. So, it is likely the online companies would still not be able to benefit from the statutory license which allows MVPDs to carry local TV channels.  However, hewarned that this would create a burden on OTT providers, because if a local programmer wanted carriage on their service the OTT provider would be required to negotiate with them. Further, Pai saidonline providers might end up facing other MVPD regulations on pricing, ad volume, employment practices, and even on the wiring inside a customer’s home; though it is unclear what these MVPD regulations mean in the OTT world.

3.  Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer  remarks on October 9, 2015 Keynote Address at the Future of Video Competition and Regulation Conference Hosted by Duke Law School:

"With respect to video programming, the streaming option is transformative.  Programmers now have the Internet as an alternative to distribution over traditional broadcast, satellite and cable networks. Over the top programming via broadband Internet connections increasingly competes with what consumers used to access solely from their cable or satellite provider.

In 2009, there were two scripted original series delivered exclusively through online services – by 2014, there were 27. This new distribution option also lowers barriers to entry for non-traditional content, like YouTube and e-sports, and allows established programmers to deliver more tailored services.  Networks can offer content a la carte, like CBS All Access and HBO Now/Go, or expand programming through services like ESPN3.

The FCC also took smart and measured action to protect competition with its recent Open Internet Order. That Order set out some simple, bright-line rules: broadband providers may not block access to lawful content; they may not throttle lawful content; and they may not take money to favor some lawful content over others.  The Order, which the Justice Department is proud to help defend in court, effectuates the public policy Congress mandated in 1996 by ensuring that cable companies or other broadband providers don’t disadvantage competitors offering consumers video services via their broadband connections.  This helps protect consumer choices and ensures that incumbents that sell both video and broadband internet do not use their control over broadband to suppress competition in video.

Sometimes the concern with undue restrictions on competition stems from incumbents seeking laws and regulations that would impede opportunities for rivals to challenge their control over the pipeline.  We see that debate playing out in efforts by some internet service providers to seek state laws precluding local communities from encouraging alternatives to local broadband monopolies.  The FCC, through its Municipal Broadband Order, targets those obstacles in order to allow municipalities to expand broadband availability.  This helps bring greater competition to exactly the part of the industry that needs it the most. 

The future of video competition should be left for the market to decide.  Our role as antitrust enforcers and competition advocates is not to pick winners or losers.  Our job is to make sure that existing bottlenecks are eliminated, that mergers don’t create new ones, and that our enforcement and policy efforts let competition thrive and innovation continue for consumers’ benefit."

What's Your Take?

Readers are invited to weigh in with their opinions via the comment box below this article.  Alternatively, you can email the author at:

Comment from Ken Pyle of Viodi View:

Excellent summary. This has been a long time coming. This 2008 obscenity ruling foreshadowed the long reach of the FCC into the Internet using video as its Trojan Horse.

Like with everything else to do with the FCC, it seems like it is long past due for Congress to step in to update Federal Telecommunications' law. Having said that, I would suggest there should be less regulation when it comes to video. It's just video after all and not really life or death (particularly with so many different ways of being entertained or informed these days, as compared to the time when there was only the big 3 networks).