Wireless Industry News

The worlds of wireless and fixed-line telecom are colliding as U.S. operators look to fiber to provide backhaul and other connections to small cells in advance of commercial 5G rollouts. But those efforts don’t pose much of a threat to traditional tower companies, according to MoffettNathanson Research.

Verizon underscored carriers’ focus on small cells last week when CEO Lowell McAdam told attendees at an analysts' meeting that the company plans to deploy 1,700 strands of fiber in each cable it will use to support its combined wireline and wireless network in Boston. McAdam also suggested in an interview with CNBC that Verizon plans to use four to six strands of fiber to attach a small cell on a typical street lamp to the network, MoffettNathanson said.

“If there’s one thing that’s clear from Verizon’s actions and pronouncements, it’s that the company is serious about deploying lots of small cells, and it plans on doing much of the work in-house,” Nick Del Deo and Craig Moffett wrote. “The network architecture it is discussing is a significant departure from the sorts of network architectures with which we’ve all become familiar.” Read More

Verizon Wireless activated its Category M1 LTE network, making it the first U.S. carrier to launch a nationwide LTE network dedicated to the internet of things. The carrier said it will offer IoT data plans for as little as $2 per month per device, with customized options available for bulk activations and volume purchases.

Category M1 LTE is very different from the higher categories of LTE that smartphones use. Uplink and downlink speeds are both capped at one megabit per second, and bandwidth is capped at 1.4 megahertz per device. This is said to enable low-cost connectivity chipsets for devices that do not need constant communication with the network. Category M1 modems are roughly 75% less complex than Category 1 modems, which are currently used to connect IoT devices to LTE networks