USA remains among leaders for 5G into 2019
. Growth in the US mobile subscriber base remains strong, with a penetration rate of about 127%. Declining revenue from voice services is compensated for by high growth in mobile data use, itself supported by upgraded networks based on LTE technologies. Smartphone penetration is also high, which had encouraged mobile data use among subscribers. The major operators, led by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US, have partnered with vendors to trial 5G technologies and services and will be expanding their commercial services further into 2019 and into 2020. In addition, operators are working on the potential of NB-IoT, LTE-U and LTE-A technologies, in some respects as complementary technologies supported by 5G.
Major recent developments include the complex reserve auction for spectrum in the 600MHz band, which raised more than $19 billion. Although network operators must wait for spectrum allocations to be concluded, the additional 70MHz made available will go far to supporting mobile broadband in rural areas and improving network capacity.
In addition to the auction of 28GHz spectrum in late 2018 the FCC plans other auctions in 2019 (for spectrum in the 24GHz, 37GHz, 39GHz and 49GHz bands) to increase the amount of spectrum available for 5G.
Given the size of the US broadband market, and the growing demand for data on both fixed and mobile networks, there is continuous pressure for operators to invest in fibre networks, and to push connectivity closer to consumers. In recent years the US has seen increased activity from regional players as well as the major telcos and cablecos. Much of this activity was stimulated by Google Fiber following its investments in a number of markets.
Although Google Fiber (now managed through Alphabet’s Access unit) began scaling back its efforts in late 2016, the company’s legacy has been profound. It encouraged the major providers to reduce pricing for their similar offers, stimulated interest among municipal leaders, and highlighted the fact that haphazard and potentially duplicated fibre deployments are no effective substitute for municipally-led wholesale fibre infrastructure accessable to any provider.
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Local networks supported by municipal governments have also sprung up despite the lobbying efforts of AT&T and Verizon aimed at preventing local competition. However, for their part AT&T and Verizon have both refocussed efforts on FttP rather than FttN, looking at the benefits of current investments for decades to come. G.fast is also being rolled out, to a lesser degree, in areas where FttP is less feasible, while a growing number of cablecos have also deployed DOCSIS3.1.
There is growing recognition of the importance of a trans-sectoral approach to broadband networks, including the health, education and energy sectors, in order to fully realise the benefits of the nascent digital economy. The FCC’s Eight Fixed Broadband report, published in December 2018, revealed how much still needs to be done to move the US broadband market forward.
This report provides analyses as well as key statistics and forecasts on the US mobile market. It also assesses telcos’ strategies, regulatory policies, and developments in the deployment of emerging technologies. In addition the report covers the cable, DSL, FttP, Wi-Fi and WiMAX broadband markets, providing market analyses as well as a range of relevant statistics.
T-Mobile US merger with Sprint receives government approvals;
Sprint signs MVNO deal with Altice USA;
FCC authorises the use of LTE-U devices in the under-utilised 5GHz band;
5G trials supporting 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) video;
AT&T launches national LTE-M service;
T-Mobile US secures additional 700MHz blocks for $1.3 billion;
Google trials facial recognition m-payment system, launches Project Fi MVNO;
AT&T closes down 2G infrastructure, reassigns spectrum for LTE;
Altice USA to deliver a 10Gb/s service across its footprint by 2022, split off from parent company;
Fiber Broadband Association counts 41 million premises passed with fibre;
AT&T invests $14 billion in LTE and U-verse network;
Maine Fiber Co completes 1,100 mile open network fibre backbone;
Charter Communications launches 1Gb/s DOCSIS3.1 service;
Round 2 auction of the Connect America Fund completed;
Report update includes telcos’ operating and financial data to Q3 2018, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Corporation, T-Mobile US, TracFone, MetroPCS Communications, Leap Wireless, Frontline, Alltel, US Cellular, Clearwire, Google, CenturyLink, Qwest, Frontier Communications, Windstream, Fairpoint, Cincinnati Bell, Comcast, HughesNet, ViaSat, Altice USA
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Major Key Points in Table of Content:
1. Broadband market
1.1 Introduction and statistical overview
1.2 Policy and regulation framework
1.3 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
1.4 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
1.5 Other fixed broadband services
1.6 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
1.7 Policy and regulation framework
1.8 Public (ILEC, CLEC and Municipal) FttP networks
1.9 RBOC FttP roll-out
2. Digital economy
3. Digital media
3.2 Music streaming
4. Mobile communications
4.1 Market analysis
4.2 Mobile statistics
4.3 Regulatory issues
4.4 Mobile infrastructure
4.5 Major mobile operators
4.6 Mobile content and applications