FCC Okays Charter Application to Test 5G in Florida

Carl Weinschenk

Charter Communications will test 5G in Florida, according RCR Wireless. Last month, Charter asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to test in the 27.5 GHz to 28.35 GHz spectrum. Approval was granted yesterday.

Charter will use 25 pieces of equipment from Ericsson to test in 53 locations in Orlando, St. Cloud, Kissimmee and Ocala. The story mentions that Charter has a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement with Verizon, though it does not explicitly say that the tests will be conducted on that network.

Comcast also has an MVNO with Verizon. This week, the two cable companies announced a pact in which they pledged to work on wireless issues in unison for the next year.

EMC Introduces IoT Management System


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a monstrously broad and complex array of sensors and other devices that is usually spread across wide geographic areas. Network World, in its story about the introduction of Pulse IoT Center by VMware, makes the point that General Electric, Nokia and Cisco (through its Jasper division) have already introduced systems to manage these large and fragmented networks.

Pulse IoT combines two existing VMWare products. AirWatch is a device management platform and vRealize Operations provides infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting. The platform is aimed at IT and operations staffs and provides consoles visualizing devices, performing analytics and real-time fixes and managing over-the-air updates and security patches. The announcement of the product was made at Dell EMC World.

AI Will Change the Landscape

Though some people try to minimize the issue, it seems likely that the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), especially when combined with robotics, will cost jobs. The typical deflection is that people will be repositioned and businesses will expand because employees are freed up. That, however, doesn’t seem likely to fully neutralize the losses.

Gartner released research this week that predicts that by 2022, smart machines and robots will replace trained professionals in medicine, law, financial services and IT. These tasks will become “low-cost utilities,” the press release says.

The commentary was provided by Stephen Prince, a Gartner fellow and vice president:

The effects that AI will have on the enterprise will depend on its industry, business, organization and customers. Mr. Prentice cited the example of a lawyer who undergoes a long, expensive period of education and training. Any enterprise that hires lawyers must pay salary and benefits big enough to compensate for this training for each successive lawyer it hires. On the other hand, a smart machine that substitutes for a lawyer also requires a long, expensive period of training. But after the first smart machine, the enterprise can add as many other smart machines as it wants for little extra cost.

Gartner suggests that companies recognize and prepare for these changes.

And We Have a Winner…

Verizon has emerged victorious in the battle for Straight Path Communications, holder of 735 mmWave licenses in the 39 GHz range and 138 mmWave licenses in the 28 GHz frequency range. 5G will rely on this very high spectrum, making Straight Path a valuable commodity.

Verizon initially was not identified when it made the counteroffer. It will pay $3.1 billion for the company, which is almost twice the $1.6 billion bid made by AT&T. Verizon also will pay a $38 million termination fee that was in the agreement between Straight Path and AT&T.

SoftBank’s Son Advocates Sprint, T-Mobile USA Merger

Sprint is again raising the possibility of merging with T-Mobile USA, according to Bloomberg. Conversations along those lines two years ago ended because of criticisms by U.S. regulators. During the past couple of years, both the competitive landscape and the identity of the regulators have changed.

Masayoshi Son, the chairman of Sprint owner SoftBank, returned to the topic in a meeting with reporters on Wednesday in Tokyo. Son sees the merger as necessary to compete more effectively with AT&T and Verizon. Deutsche Telekom AG owns about 65 percent of T-Mobile US and would have to be onboard for any deal.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


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