back to article Can't wait for 5G? Don't then, Gigabit LTE will be around for ages

While 5G suffers the usual, protracted birth pangs, unfashionable Gigabit LTE is going to be how your mobile bits are delivered for ages. CCS Insight notes that 43 operators have either deployed Gigabit LTE already or are in trials to do so. T-Mobile says it has deployed the three key technologies needed for Gigabit LTE – 4x4 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever happened to that plan of using old BT phone boxes as nanocells? Since they already have the cabling in place to connect to the phone network it was supposed to be an easy, cheap way to do it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Easy cheap way to do what?

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        "Easy cheap way to do what?"

        Answer is in the first sentence.

      2. Marcelo Rodrigues

        "Easy cheap way to do what?"


    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      The only connection they'd have (I assume) would be a twisted copper pair. So that's possibly as high as 80Mb/s shared by everyone within half a kilometre (or whatever range they chose). Better than nothing I suppose. Then again it wouldn't be all that easy to modify the box. You might also have to uprate the power supply. I don't know how the lights in a box are powered but a transmitter is going to need more juice.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        The fact that the cabling exists suggests that there might be ducting available - use that old copper part to pull through a fibre (or just blow it alongside?)

        Power is normally fairly easy to find - grab a local streetlamp...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Power is normally fairly easy to find - grab a local streetlamp...

          Streetlights are typically 30W or 70W, and connected in short blocks (as you may have seen when the cables get damaged). The cabling and connections are not suitable for hanging additional loads off, other than a few additional lamps or illuminated street furniture. That's also a problem for the fantasists who expect to charge their EV from a streetlight.

          Even if the cabling was really heavywight the vast majority are unmetered connections to the local grid, that won't be so good if trying to divvy up the energy use between car owners, council lighting, and different mast owners.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BT phone boxes?

      Don't they only exist in Gibraltar now? That would be one hell of a battery drain.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So that's EE these days then. What about Vodafone / 3?

    5. PNGuinn

      Using old BT phoneboxes

      Shirly there aren't that many left.

    6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Whatever happened to that plan of using old BT phone boxes as nanocells?

      I suspect that they came up against the fact that most of the old red boxes have been ripped out and are not available for use.

      After all, why leave them in place as a target for vandalism?

  2. Lee D Silver badge

    Running a cell off a giant metal box? Probably not best for signal.

    Most of them have been sold off.

    Those that haven't was for a reason (nobody wants them, because of whatever lease/land-rights/obligations/service they have).

    Plus, they're all at ground level.

    It'd cost thousands per box, would supply... what? A few dozens of people, in maybe a couple of hundred metres. And, as pointed out, would probably get quite slow and unreliable backend (copper cables that have been there for decades) for all those users. One 4G user can pull 10-50Mbps easily without even trying.

    On a "cost per potential user" case, they just wouldn't be worth the money compared to one huge massive cell tower in the next town.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gigabit LTE is meaningless

    Note that "3 carrier aggregation" required. In a busy cell resources are much better spent using those three carriers for three different clients - which would be limited to "only" 400 Mbps maximum.

    In a lightly used cell, sure let a client race with 1.2 Gbps if they are close enough to the tower to have an adequate SNR to support 256QAM - but what's the point? Who needs mobile data delivered at that speed? Is someone watching three dozen 4K streams at once on their phone or something? Did you feel a need to download the full 1.5GB iOS 11.0 update in 10 seconds instead of 30?

    5G is NOT NEEDED for mobile because no one needs a gigabit to their phone, let alone more. It will find its niche with fixed wireless. Verizon, AT&T et al will be able to offer high speed internet anywhere within decent range of a cell tower (or a microcell put up on a phone pole to serve the purpose) to a fixed antenna on your eave by on the wall by your bedroom window. That's the only reasonable alternative for low density areas, but even high density areas will eventually use as it will allow new competitors to go up against the cable/telco duopoly in the US. Spending money to run fiber to the home in Dec. 2017 is stupid, 5G fixed wireless will be so much cheaper to deliver - it won't cost $1000 per home.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Gigabit LTE is meaningless

      Yes, due to economics, ROI.

      Why spend money having x9 as many cells (you need really small cells to do 1Gbps, or else have only a few people) and not getting more revenue?

      There will be / are some deployments, but not many.

      The phone box idea was tried for paid wifi in Ireland.

      1) Not enough left, though someone bought all the Smart Telecom ones when they went bust.

      2) Cost

      3) poor backhaul

      4) Vandals.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gigabit LTE is meaningless


      You've missed the point. Fair enough as most tech journalists pick bit rates as the headline too.

      The point of higher data rates is that for a given size chunk of data, you are spending less time on air. Less time on air means more users per cell, lower latency and less power consumed.

      On an LTE network as currently stands someone streaming a video could perhaps eat 10% of the entire cell bandwidth for the whole time they are watching. Streaming to phones is increasing in popularity, especially with the young and those with toddlers. I know a couple of people who quite happily give their tots a phone streaming iPlayer / Youtube to keep them quiet whilst out shopping.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gigabit LTE is meaningless

        Spending less time on the air using three bands at once isn't saving anything. You could spend 3x as long on the air and use only one band and allow two others to use the other two bands during that time. Besides, trying to pull 1.2 Gbps is a problem because you generally can't get that over the internet - you'll end up running out of buffer and pausing more often trying to drive that speed so you're better off trying for "only" 400 Mbps anyway.

        The only way higher speeds help is if they are using higher order modulation to get more bits per symbol (i.e. QAM256 instead of QAM64, which is up to a 25% increase) In reality you don't get that much because that requires more error correction, and you have to have enough SNR to pull it off. But at least it helps those who are close enough to the tower and outdoors.

  4. PiltdownMan

    Gigabit LTE & 5G, what a f**king joke!

    EE still insist that I am in a "yellow" 4G Double Speed area, with excellent outdoor coverage and GOOD indoor coverage.

    Why then, is my Galaxy S8 constantly on Voice over WiFi at home? (my indoor signal is almost non existent) I can't even send texts reliably from home, so 2G signal must also be questionable too.

    I'm not buying any new services, until I get what I'm paying for with my current ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gigabit LTE & 5G, what a f**king joke!

      Not to mention the ridiculous volume-caps that are currently on LTE. Why providing 1Mbps speed with a volume cap of only 2GB of data? I was hoping to ditch my ADSL2/VDSL-box for LTE, which is faster, if it wasn't for that ridiculous cap that my telco uses :-(

      Then there's the vast difference between their "tests" and what the public eventually gets. Why are those phone-manufacturers bragging about catX and CatY and 300mbps or 600mbps when I only have 25mbps in reality due to my telco's bloody restrictions.

      It's all a scam.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Gigabit LTE & 5G, what a f**king joke!

      my indoor signal is almost non existent


      It's because either:

      a) you live in a castle and your walls give a 99% signal degradation or

      b) You are only a historical scientific fraud created during the Edwardian era and thus don't exist..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cells in Phone boxes? Already done by T-Mobile 9UK)many years ago ( may have even been One-2-One). Liverpool city centre had quite a few deployed

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

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