Wireless & Mobile Landscape

U.S. mmWave Deployment Cost Estimate: The Long and Short of It

Multiple millimeter wave (mmWave) bands have been in commercial use for decades, but this spectrum has been a relatively niche player compared to lower bands, such as those used by cellular.

Millimeter wave is increasingly attractive to many companies and governments because it provides wider channels than lower frequencies do, so it can support heavy traffic loads and bandwidth-intensive applications such as live 4K video. This means mmWave can compete with fiber for customers with multi-Gbps applications. Its shorter wavelengths are also a good fit for massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) antenna systems, which enable high speeds and high reliability.

The cost model presented in this report essentially builds on several assumptions regarding feasibility and costs to estimate how much it might cost to deploy mmWave-based services, using a Massive MIMO antenna system, to households and/or businesses.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is millimeter wave?
  • Why is millimeter wave important? How is it being used? How can it be used?
  • How are Massive MIMO and mmWave related?
  • What are the pros and cons to deploying mmWave? What are the challenges?
  • How much might it cost to deploy mmWave-based services?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators
  • Mobile device OEMs
  • Mobile content providers and distributors
  • Financial and investment analysts.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
  • Overview of Millimeter Wave
  • Why now?
  • What is 5G?
    • Potential 5G Use Cases
    • Latency
    • 5G Network Requirements
    • 5G Timeline
    • MIMO & Beamforming
    • MU-MIMO
    • Massive MIMO and mmWave
    • Beamforming
    • Use of MIMO and Beamforming
  • Spectrum Allocations
  • Spectrum
    • mmWave bands
    • mmWave allocations
  • Trials and Deployments
    • Verizon
    • T-Mobile USA
    • AT&T
    • Windstream
    • New York University
  • The Quest for Mobility
  • New Opportunities and Threats for Wired Providers
  • Cost Estimates for mmWave
  • Business Density
  • Definitions
    • General
    • Device Types
    • Services
    • Network Technology
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Test Results of Mobility at 24 GHz
  • Table 2: Weighted Population Density by Square Mile
  • Table 3: Square Miles, Towers, People and HHs by distance from “Town Hall,” 200m Radius
  • Table 4: Square Miles, Towers, People and HHs by distance from “Town Hall,” 400m Radius
  • Table 5: Household Adoption of mmWave at Various Uptake Levels and Distance from City
  • Table 6: Cost per HH if Tower is Built
  • Table 7: Cost per HH if Leasing Space on Tower
  • Table 8: Business Density and Population by MSA
  • Table 9: Business Density by Distance from City Hall
  • Table 10: Business Density by Distance from City Hall
  • Table 11: Average Business Uptake per Tower

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: Estimated Per-Household Cost to Deploy mmWave, 100% Uptake
  • Figure 1: Atmospheric Absorption, mmWave Frequencies (dB/km)
  • Figure 2: Average Wired Broadband Latency, Reported by FCC in 2014
  • Figure 3: Timeline for IMT-2020 (5G)
  • Figure 4: Beamforming and MIMO
  • Figure 5: 2x2 MIMO
  • Figure 6: Conceptual view of MU-MIMO
  • Figure 7: Another take on MU-MIMO
  • Figure 8: Analog and Digital Beamforming for mmWave
  • Figure 9: Prototype Massive MIMO Antenna, Lund University
  • Figure 10: Other Massive MIMO Antenna Designs
  • Figure 11: Massive MIMO Antenna Designs / Systems
  • Figure 12: Conceptual view of Analog and Digital Beamforming
  • Figure 13: Inter-relation of Beamforming and MIMO
  • Figure 14: Bands Proposed by FCC for Mobile Use, 2016
  • Figure 15: Measuring Effect of Hand Blocking and Role of Diversity
  • Figure 16: How mmWave Might Integrate with Existing RAN
  • Figure 17: Square Miles per Ring and Towers Required for Coverage
  • Figure 18: Total Number of People per Ring and Average HHs per Ring
  • Figure 19: Comparing Number of Towers Needed at mmWave Radii, 200m and 400m
  • Figure 20: Household Adoption of mmWave at Various Uptake Levels and Distance from City
  • Figure 21: Cost per HH if Tower is Built
  • Figure 22: Cost per HH if Leasing Space on Tower

For additional information on the U.S. mmWave Deployment Cost Estimate: The Long and Short of It market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.