The Wireless Pulse 7th Edition

October’s attendees are comprised of various telecom executives working across the national wireless real estate spectrum.

1. The four major carriers are expected to invest $50 billion in cap ex spending in 2021.

2. Lead times for material and equipment delivery continue to bog down new site builds, 5G upgrades and equipment installations nationwide.

3. DISH is filling their pipeline to announce they have sites and will be broadcasting soon.

4. DISH’s primary deployment will be on existing cell towers for ease of installation.

5. Once they have a critical number of sites built, DISH will commence broadcasting signal.

6. TMOB knows which sites they will keep and which sites they will decommission, (Sprint) expect them to spend much more and convert many sites in 2022.

7. Since dark fiber doesn’t really exist, Verizon is utilizing any existing fiber they can find to bolster their macro sites and squeezing every bit of usage from what fiber is available.

8. ATT is still a dark horse and while consistent in upgrades, their real push is fiber to home.

9. Expect TMOB and DISH to lead the pack in 2022 builds and 5G upgrades.

10. RFP activity by carrier to buy equipment and hire installation crews are as follows:

a. Verizon has RFP’s throughout the country to deploy C-Band. They pay the most and the suppliers will gravitate to them for that very reason.

b. T-Mobile is deploying their Band 41-80/100 MHz and is the most aggressive carrier to build out.

c. DISH has hired firms to complete A & E and entitlements, besides ordering equipment for their build cycle.

d. U. S. Cellular, while we rarely report on their activity, they are sending RFP’s and will be spending record dollars in the markets they serve.

11. While 5G is on everyone’s lips, be prepared for the 6G rollout in 2024. Hard to imagine 5G isn’t realized nationally and it’s already obsolete.

12. Private enterprise can’t rely on the carriers to provide needed connectivity. There is a huge increase in privately built and owned systems. The funding is primarily from the Fed.

13. There aren’t enough A & E and entitlement firms to handle the demand of the carriers. Coupled with lack of dark fiber, backhaul will be the biggest problem facing 5G broadcasting.

14. Macro cell sites operate with radios and other equipment. Nokia, Erickson and Samsung supply the US carriers with the needed radios and are the big winners in that space.

15. Even though DISH is deploying everywhere, they can’t start broadcasting until they have the necessary backhaul in place. That’s going to be the greatest challenge.

16. While on the subject of DISH, here are a few things to keep in mind:

a. They have outperformed industry expectations for new sites and deployment.
b. They will not have retail locations for consumers to buy products.
c. They are building their own equipment cabinets in-house.
d. Their partnership with Amazon is real.
e. Expect their launch in Las Vegas in 2022.

17. The other wild card with DISH-What is the financial health of their network and will they be profitable?
Lastly, with the carriers spending billions of dollars to upgrade their existing sites and greenfield new builds to provide nationwide continuity of service and no real prospect of new consumers how will they pay for all of this? We all know that answer-existing consumers will inevitably foot the bill.