Telecom Market Update: Spectrum, 5G, and 4G Competition

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Monday, April 24, 2017 with No comments

What's new in the mobile telecom market? Here is a rundown of some recent news from the likes of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and operators in China, related to spectrum acquisitions, 5G plans, and 4G competition.

Verizon announced a three-year (or longer), $1.05 billion minimum purchase agreement with cable manufacturing company Corning, involving up to 20 million kilometers (12.4 million miles) of optical fibre annually from 2018-2020, Telecom TV reportedThe deal is part of Verizon's strategy around improving its LTE coverage and preparing for planned 5G deployments, RCR Wireless News noted

Also in line with its 5G goals, Verizon is reportedly considering a $1.6 billion acquisition bid for millimeter wave spectrum holder Straight Path, RCR Wireless News said, citing a regulatory filing on the part of Straight Path. Verizon has yet to confirm the potential deal. 

On a related note, RCR Wireless News pointed out that although Verizon didn't snag any additional spectrum in the recent 600 MHz incentive auction, the operator is confident that it already has the spectrum resources needed to support its "unlimited" data plans and other factors driving increased use of its network.   

Speaking of spectrum, T-Mobile said it won 45% of the 600 MHz spectrum sold in the incentive auction, and has plans to put some of those low-band spectrum resources to use later this year, RCR Wireless News reported. The carrier noted that is now has access to at least 10 megahertz of 600 MHz spectrum, covering over a million square miles. 

Meanwhile, AT&T is busy with 5G test sites in Austin, Texas, intended for use in trying out a variety of network architectures using equipment from multiple vendors, SDxCentral reported. One testbed is already up and running, and a second is under construction. 

Elsewhere globally, mobile operators in China (China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom) are experiencing some exceptional subscriber and revenue growth numbers thanks to the conversion of 2G and 3G customers to 4G, Light Reading reported. But, eventually the boom will end because there will basically be no customers left to convert to 4G. Operators in the country therefore cannot afford to be complacent, and must start thinking of changing up their competitive strategies. 

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