2G/3G/4G world map

I stumbled onto this yesterday via Twitter and it really surprised me. If true (not sure how to verify), most of the world seems to be on 2G/3G - with 4G only being used substantially in 5 countries [USA, S. Korea, Japan, Sweden, Norway]. I would not have guessed this at all.

https://twitter.com/henrihelvetica/status/987405192860545024…

This probably doesn’t materially apply to any of my current holdings but it would some of my 2016/2017 sells, such as AAPL, SWKS.

Apparently the source is this Verge article about FB. Scroll down for giant map.

https://www.theverge.com/a/mark-zuckerberg-future-of-faceboo…

Cheers, -Chris

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I’m in the hinterlands of Philippines, pretty much middle of nowhere, connected 4G. Have been for a couple of years, I think.

KC

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I stumbled onto this yesterday via Twitter and it really surprised me. If true (not sure how to verify), most of the world seems to be on 2G/3G - with 4G only being used substantially in 5 countries [USA, S. Korea, Japan, Sweden, Norway]. I would not have guessed this at all.

Me either.

Howeever, I would not expect it to remain that way. 4G LTE represents a massive leap in technology. It paves the way for an all IP network. It does away with legacy switches and the entire SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) system and all of the TDM (Time Division Multiplexing)systems that feed it. It also does away with all of the switches.

The SONET/TDM system adds a huge amount of time into provisioning and maintenace. The switches add complexity and power consumption.

With 4G LTE everything can go IP and native ethernet. This allows all of the nodes to be made virtual and this drops equipment and power costs. Additionally, with the all IP network the provisioning can happen in the blink of an eye. This allows for softening of the network. Instead of making hardened nodes, we softer nodes and when bad things happen, we just run away and establish a node somewhere else.

And example. Currently we have a 4 hour or more battery back up plus a generator at our Central Offices or Points of Presence. The new server centers filled with virtual machines will only have 15 minutes of back up. Why? We can use Vmotion or equivalent to move the entire center to another place inside that 15 minute window. Depending on the importance and the way the system is set up, there may or may not be a service interruption.

We have similar situation in most of the cell coverage with multiple sites covering a single area, so the loss of a single site does not have a material effect on the end user.

The difference is so substantial that it would be like a farmer holding on to his steam tractors and trying to compete with the new automated combines.

Cheers
Qazulight

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Hello Qazulight,

I appreciate your insights into the inner workings of telecom systems. I have a question: Can a network leapfrog from 2G or 3G straight to 5G, bypassing 4G altogether? Thanks for your contributions.

I thought there were lots of mobile phones in China especially near the coast but the map does not show that
Otherwise it looks much like the globe from satellite at night, showing concentrations of lights but some areas like N Korea and central Africa dark.

Yes and no.

The fiber backbone has to be in place and the virtualzed server centers must be in place. 5g is mostly a radio access network upgrade. It used higher frequencies newer modulation schemes and distributed switching centers with more intelligence in the edge of the network.

With 5g we will be putting antennes on parking meters, sac boxes, light poles even manhole covers.

The idea is dense antennas and lots and lots of fiber.

With 5g there is a need for speed both in bandwidth and ping time.

Cheers
Qazulight

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4G is widely used in the UK and Ireland and has been widely used for some years in the UK.

Alex

Based on this
https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/the-technolog…
I would guess the article dates from 2016 … which doesn’t still seem to explain, but at least it isn’t current.

Hi Qazulight.

You wrote: "5g is mostly a radio access network upgrade. It used higher frequencies newer modulation schemes and distributed switching centers with more intelligence in the edge of the network.

With 5g we will be putting antennes on parking meters, sac boxes, light poles even manhole covers.

The idea is dense antennas and lots and lots of fiber."

It is my understanding that some fairly low-frequency spectrum was auctioned recently too. I imagined that it would mainly be deployed for 5G in rural areas. Is that how you see it too, or do you envision newer low-frequency spectrum being used for other purposes (e.g., intelligent toasters that don’t exactly need a 5G connection)?

I see dense fiber-connected antennae as being appropriate for urban areas, but will it really be cost-effective for suburban and rural areas? How do you see that playing out? What is the realistic range for antennae on lamp posts or parking meters?

An interesting company – that I don’t think has been mentioned before on this board – is Zayo Group (ZAYO). They were founded post-telecom crash, post-financial crisis by a former founder of Level 3 Communications. They proceeded to buy up dark fiber (i.e., fiber deployed in the ground, but not being used by anyone) when it was still perceived to be a glut. Demand for fiber has tightened, and should tighten more as 5G rolls out. Zayo also owns a fair number of data centers, and co-location services are often an entree to deeper telecom relationships.

ZAYO has some aspects that would appeal to Saul-like investors. When you rent access to a fiber for telecommunication purposes, there is generally fairly long-term monthly recurring revenue associated with that kind of agreement. That said, a Saul-like investor (probably especially Saul himself), would balk at the revenue and earnings growth that have been exhibited to date (more could be forthcoming, upon request). It isn’t inspiring so far, but we really haven’t seen 5G hit yet.

I have a very small position in Zayo because I see a lot of potential, but also a lot of risk. I’ve contemplated mentioning Zayo here, but I’ve been reluctant because I recognize that recent growth performance wouldn’t capture the board’s attention. But this thread – and especially Qazulight’s comments – make me feel that the mention is timely, and might contribute to the conversation.

Thanks and best wishes,
TMFDatabaseBob (long: ZAYO, and some other telecom-related stocks)
See my holdings here: http://my.fool.com/profile/TMFDatabasebob/info.aspx
Peace on Earth

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With 5g we will be putting antennes on parking meters, sac boxes, light poles even manhole covers.
Qazulight - any idea who might be the defacto market leader in antenna technology? Could be an opportunity there.
Ant
ps please don’t say UBNT as I sold mine last week.

I stumbled onto this yesterday via Twitter and it really surprised me. If true (not sure how to verify), most of the world seems to be on 2G/3G - with 4G only being used substantially in 5 countries [USA, S. Korea, Japan, Sweden, Norway]. I would not have guessed this at all.

The map is inaccurate.
It has to be at least 4 years old.
In the Philippines, all the major and many minor urban areas have comprehensive LTE coverage. The same applies for Germany.
I don’t think Vietnam had LTE, but Malaysia has most of the country covered, as well.

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I’m in the hinterlands of Philippines, pretty much middle of nowhere, connected 4G. Have been for a couple of years, I think.

The LTE rollout started in a major way in 2014.
In Boracay, it started to arrive in late 2013.

It is my understanding that some fairly low-frequency spectrum was auctioned recently too. I imagined that it would mainly be deployed for 5G in rural areas. Is that how you see it too, or do you envision newer low-frequency spectrum being used for other purposes (e.g., intelligent toasters that don’t exactly need a 5G connection)?

I see dense fiber-connected antennae as being appropriate for urban areas, but will it really be cost-effective for suburban and rural areas? How do you see that playing out? What is the realistic range for antennae on lamp posts or parking meters?

Exactly.

The lower spectrum does two things well. It propagates further and it penetrates better.

The higher frequencies have more bandwidth and lends itself to reusing the bandwidth more often.

The nice thing about 4g and 5g, as they are both all IP networks, the ability to build networks creatively, like a kid with leggos is enhanced.

You need a modern network in northern rural Mexico? Can’t get the fiber in because you can’t come to an accommodation with the drug lords? Have the nodes at the cell towers use part of the over the air bandwidth to create a virtual network and let the back haul skip tower to tower. Is it slow? Yes. Does it use precious bandwidth? Yes. Is it the solution you want? No. Does it work? Yes.

Need to deploy 5g in a downtown area? Put dumb 5g antennae in the streets and connect to controller in the nearest point of presence. It doesn’t matter if it is a Core backbone POP, an incumbant local exchange (ILEC) carrier central office a Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO). In a suburban or semi rural area? Need more nodes? Add them and have them controlled from a cabinet in a cell tower.

The tech is one thing. What I find interesting is the opportunity to make the business more flexible. If you make the system a plug and play modular system, then you might be able to re imagine the way the business is built.

Instead of two MTSO’s down the street from each other
and technicians driving past each other to two different sites, you could sell the entire physical network to a RIET and have them provide maintenance and then just lease a virtual network like we do server centers.

While we haven’t gotten there yet, the technology lends itself to this type of business disruption.

Cheers
Qazulight

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Hi Chris,

This is a bogus map. Many of the replies on this thread have pointed out that most of the places mentioned have been on 4G for quite a while.

The map shows Germany as 2G, which hasn’t been the case for what feels like a decade or so. We’ve been on 4G LTE for a very long time now.

It looks like somebody simply wanted to show some pretty colors with the US in the lead, when in fact, the US has been a cell network speed laggard for quite a while.

DJ

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Yeah after all the feedback, I’m inclined to agree that it’s outdated and/or simply inaccurate. Sorry to have wasted everyone’s time.

With 5g we will be putting antennes on parking meters, sac boxes, light poles even manhole covers.
Qazulight - any idea who might be the defacto market leader in antenna technology? Could be an opportunity there.
Ant
ps please don’t say UBNT as I sold mine last week.

Sorry, can’t help. Will note, the antennas will be coupled with transceivers and will talk to the controllers via fiber.

So who ever sells the antennas will also sell active equipment.

Cheers
Qazulight