625,000 villages are being connected with fiber by the remarkable Bharatnet, on track to complete in 2019. One to five Wi-Fi hotspots in each area (GP) will offer services including banking and e-gov for eight cents (U.S.) per day to $1.50/month. These "Common services centres" will often be run by "Village level entrepreneurs," perhaps as many as 100,000.
This is the largest Internet access program on earth, originally conceived by Sam Pitroda in the government of Dr. Mammohan Singh. It is a credit to the government building it.* Telcos are also connecting; Bharti has 30,000 cells planned. Reliance Jio, now with 4G to 96% of Indians, will raise that to 99%. Jio has better coverage than most of the major Europeans, all state of the art 4G LTE.
The big four telcos now are demanding a delay and a huge increase in costs. "Establishing public WiFi networks without licence will be illegal being in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885."
Only one telco on Earth has publicly committed to a large, millimeter wave 5G build designed for true gigabit service: Verizon. The Europeans are all using 5G Low, 70%-90% slower.
STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.
Audited financials* report a profit with prices of $2-10/month. Rio sells with feature phones from $30 and smartphones from $60. Ambani offers LTE to 96% of India, confirmed independently by OpenSignal. heading to 99%. No government subsidy, ET predicts prices will start at $8.
If India can do this with a $7K per capita income, so can Poland $29K per capita, Malaysia $28K, Argentina $20K, Mexico $19K, Dominican Republic $17K, Egypt $13K, Indonesia $12K, and many, perhaps most, of the 110 countries with higher incomes than India. Myanmar, one of the world's poorest, is over 90% covered and will soon be 95% LTE. Less than that is a government failure.
The primary secret is the incredibly low costs of today's wireless networks. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says his current cost per bit is 90% less than just a couple of years ago.
Datang, like the Tang dynasty that inspired the name, exits with remarkable achievements. The Tang Dynasty introduced woodblock printing and many of the first manuscripts. The Tang poets remain admired after a millennium. Datang has played a crucial role in wireless since developing the TD-SCDMA standard before 2007*. That was extended to 4G TD-LTE, which is the basis in turn for much of mid-band 5G. In fact, when the technology was developed for wireless in the 3.5 GHz band, it was called TD-LTE.
Datang was so important in wireless standards that only three weeks ago Qualcomm signed a major agreement with them (below.) They have thousands of patents; it is probably impossible to build a 5G network without using Datang patents. (Huawei and ZTE also have primary patents on advanced wireless.)
Datang is still known for test and measurement equipment, but at $3B sales/year was too small to compete.
AT&T just hired Margaret Peterlin — who was an aide for Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — as senior vice president, global external and public affairs. T-Mobile hired Trump's tech guy, Jeff Eisenach, for analysis backing the Sprint deal. Jeff is a skilled economist who can always make an argument that reads well in a policy brief.* I don't know the actual numbers here, but the best-placed lawyers and DC advocates bill out at well over $1,000/hour. Peterlin's job presumably pays well into the $millions.
That's typical D.C. behavior, where we have the best Congress money can buy.
Former U.S. Solicitor-General Ted Olsen declined the role of defending Donald Trump in the Mueller investigation, despite his strong ties to the Republican Party. But as a Washington lawyer-for-hire, Olsen is happily opposing the FCC de facto ban of Huawei through rules on universal service purchases.
Like most lobbyist filings, it's mostly hyperbole.
I didn't believe it until I double-checked the figures. Telefonica Spain added 500,000 homes passed by fibre to the home in Q1 2018 to reach 19.7M. Three months later, they are almost certainly over 20M, over 75% of Spain. They are now making more money per customer (EBITDA,) seeing less churn, and reducing operating expenses on the new network. The financial results were so favorable the Brazilian subsidiary, VIVO, is also adding 7M. VIVO's total will be 14M by 2020.
Across Europe, iDate and the Fibre to the Home Council calculate FTTB/FTTH rose by 20% in 2017. British Telecom and Deutsche have fone very little do far but have planned over 20M lines starting in 2019. Below, the iDate/FTTH charts for all of Europe. The trend is obvious.
Fifteen years ago, a brilliant French switch engineer claimed, "The Chinese can never do what we do." I looked at him and replied, "B_______. Hundreds of Asians worked in Bell Labs. Do you think their cousins back home are not as smart as they are?" His company is long gone. Two of the five leading telecom manufacturers are Chinese, one Korean, one Swedish, and one Finnish. No company in France - or the United States - can deliver a major mobile network.
An SCMP article covered the long march still ahead to match Intel processors. That's not true in telecom. Qualcomm still probably makes the best mobile chips, but Huawei's HiSilicon is very close. Know-nothings in D.C. thought ZTE was dependent on America and made bad policy.
90% of the ZTE components could be immediately sourced today in Asia. The remaining few, mostly RF and FPGA, are actively being researched in China and could be quickly developed.