5G Sparks Ultra-high Spectrum Land Rush

BY J. SHARPE SMITH, Senior Editor, AGL eDigest


AT&T quietly announced its agreement to acquire FiberTower, and its millimeter wave spectrum rights, this week within a blog post on the deployment of small cells using centralized RAN (C-RAN) architecture, initially in the city of San Francisco.


FiberTower, a private company that spent two years in bankruptcy from 2012-2014, provides backhaul to carriers and public safety agencies, using 24 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum and technology, which can offer over 200 high capacity links per square kilometer. The company also leases spectrum in the 24 GHz and 39 GHz for backhaul use by public safety, government and private industry networks, schools and libraries.


“While this brings some fiber to towers (note: more than 90 percent of AT&T’s towers are already fiber fed), we believe the main rationale for this move for AT&T was centered around millimeter spectrum. FiberTower brings with it 24 GHz and 39 GHZ spectrum,” Jennifer Fritzsche, Wells Fargo senior analyst, wrote. “We view this as a positive strategic move for AT&T.”


AT&T’s FiberTower deal mirrors Verizon’s XO Communications acquisition, which brings with it 24 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum, in addition to fiber holdings.


“Verizon will have by far the most of this spectrum following the XO close. XO brings 188 billion MHz-POPs of this high band spectrum (over 23x what FiberTower brings),” Fritzsche wrote.


More 5G Spectrum Heading to the Market


Straight Path Spectrum, which owns licenses the 28 GHz (27.5 – 28.35 GHz) and 39 GHz (38.6 – 40 GHz), is also going to be part of the 5G spectrum market.


The company got in trouble with the FCC for not fully building out its network and providing substantial service. To settle the investigation, the Commission fined the Straight Path $100 million, but stated that it will drop that fine to $15 million if Straight Path agreed to return some licenses (93 of its 828 39-GHz spectrum licenses) to the FCC and sell the entirety of the license portfolio in arms-length transactions.


Post-settlement, Straight Path Communications said it holds an average of 620 MHz in the top 30 U.S. markets, including 175 billion MHz-PoPs in 39 GHz spectrum and 39 billion MHz-PoPs in the 28 GHz.


In a prepared statement, Straight Path Communications CEO Davidi Jonas commented on the FCC settlement: “We are pleased that we were able to achieve a comprehensive settlement with the FCC, which allows us to move forward as the largest holder of 39 GHz spectrum, with about 95 percent of the total licenses commercially available at this time, as well as a significant holder of 28 GHz in major markets, including New York and San Francisco.”


The company is proceeding with its plan to market its spectrum assets; it is required to pay the FCC 20 percent of the value received from the sale.


“Straight Path Communications’ spectrum is part of the bedrock for 5G and will play an important role in the development of this next-generation ecosystem, underscored by activities already underway by leading wireless carriers and equipment manufacturers in the United States,” he added. “With this settlement, we have cleared the way for a review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. To represent us in our endeavors, we have retained Evercore, a premier independent investment banking advisory firm.”

Verizon Uses Small Cells To Connect Indoor DAS

From RCR Wireless, February 8, 2017

By Martha DeGrasse


Verizon Wireless has asked its five distributed antenna system vendors to integrate their systems with small cells designed by SpiderCloud Wireless. Advanced RF Technologies, CommScope, Corning, JMA Wireless and Solid Technologies are all working with SpiderCloud, with Advanced RF Technologies already claiming successful deployments.


For Verizon Wireless, using a small cell as a signal source looks like a potential solution to one of the biggest problems in the DAS market: enterprise customers are hesitant to invest in a system without assurance that at least one carrier will connect to it. Making the radio part of the DAS vendor’s equipment alleviates this concern.


“This allows the enterprise to get a guaranteed signal source and distribute it with the DAS system if they choose to do so,” explained Verizon’s Dennis McColl, the principal engineer who heads up the carrier’s in-building business. “The DAS systems themselves are meant to mimic an air interface so there’s really no reason why a DAS cannot be applied to the SpiderCloud radio node. … It’s not easy. DAS systems are certainly not easy. They’re the most complex, underestimated piece of equipment or architecture in the wireless landscape.”


McColl said it would be nice to see all Verizon Wireless’ DAS vendors develop their own small cells that could be integrated with the carrier’s network, but he realizes this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. McColl said the most likely contender might be CommScope, which purchased the Airvana small cell business in 2014, but so far the SpiderCloud small cell is the only one that is integrated into Verizon Wireless’ core network.


For companies in need of better cellular service, a DAS with its own signal source is often the best answer, McColl said, noting many companies try to address connectivity issues with repeaters, but these only solve for coverage and not for capacity.


For SpiderCloud, the DAS business is not one the Silicon Valley startup expected to be part of, but the company welcomes the opportunity to work with its former competitors.


“It is almost found money,” said SpiderCloud director of enterprise Art King, who said he’s hopeful corporate IT managers will find the budget to fund hybrid DAS/small cell systems. “CIOs can be very incentivized to find money in their budgets because the other execs are yelling at them to get it done,” King said.


McColl agreed that the demand is there, and said Verizon Wireless can’t fund a DAS for every company that wants one. But he wants to keep his subscribers happy, so if corporate customers are willing to pay for a DAS, Verizon Wireless is all for it.


“If somebody wants to pay for the ability to give our customers service, why not?” said McColl. “The ecosystem is asking for more support than we can give and so this gives them an opportunity to engage, and it’s something that we need to help.”


For the DAS vendors working with SpiderCloud, the addition of a signal source could make their systems easier to sell to corporate customers. Advanced RF Technologies marketing director Seri Yoon expects Verizon Wireless to spend less on indoor systems than it has in the past, and she hopes enterprises can pick up some of the slack.


Yoon added that for ADRF the SpiderCloud integration is “plug and play” because the ADRF system includes an Ethernet port and a power port. Yoon said the ADRF DAS with a small cell signal source is a good solution for new installations, but for existing systems she would expect to see small cells used to add capacity independently rather than as part of a DAS.


A Verizon Wireless DAS with a guaranteed signal source can be the first part of a system that will eventually support multiple carriers. McColl said enterprises can install these systems with a SpiderCloud radio node and then add other carrier radios down the road. But this would require the DAS vendor to integrate its system with the new small cell just as it has with the SpiderCloud equipment.


Ericsson and IBM Announce 5G Base Station Chip

From RCR Wireless, February 8, 2017

By Martha DeGrasse


Ericsson and IBM said they have created an integrated circuit designed for use in future “5G” base stations. The companies announced the first reported silicon-based millimeter wave phased array antenna module operating at 28 GHz.


The 28 GHz band is being used by both AT&T and Verizon Wireless for fixed wireless tests that are expected to lead to the first commercial 5G deployments. A 5G standard is not expected by the Third Generation Partnership Project until late this year or early next year, but the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands are widely expected to be a part of that standard. Both AT&T and Verizon Communications have recently purchased companies that hold spectrum licenses in these bands.


IBM and Ericsson said they have been working together for two years to develop a 5G chipset. The companies said IBM contributed expertise in highly integrated phased array millimeter wave integrated circuit and antenna-in-package solutions, which Ericsson combined with its own core competence in circuit and system design for mobile communications.


Ericsson has a long history of designing and developing its own chipsets. Its wireless base stations typically rely on application specific integrated circuits created in-house.


“Ericsson has typically used ASICS. They don’t trust anyone else,” said analyst Earl Lum of EJL Wireless Research. Lum said that even though Ericsson stopped developing chips for smartphones, the company maintains a deep bench of silicon design expertise.


The module developed by Ericsson and IBM consists of four monolithic integrated circuits and 64 dual-polarized antennas. It is a square device that measures approximately 2.8 inches on each side. Ericsson said the form factor is necessary to support the vision of this technology’s widespread deployment, especially in indoor spaces and dense downtown areas.


“Our collaboration with IBM Research on phased array antennas can help operators to effectively deploy radio access infrastructure necessary to support a 5G future,” said Thomas Noren, Ericsson’s head of product area network products. “New use cases and applications that span human machine interaction, virtual reality, smart home devices and connected cars will depend on innovative technologies that can bring the promises of faster data rates, broader bandwidth and longer battery life to reality.”


The biggest benefit of 5G will be enabling mobile operators to deliver data more cost effectively, according to analyst Joe Madden of Mobile Experts, who said that with LTE it costs operators more than $1,000 to deliver a megabit per second of network capacity. Madden expects 5G technologies to bring this cost down to a few hundred dollars.


“Our cost model tells us that 5G should be able to achieve a 10-times reduction in cost per bit compared with LTE,” Madden wrote in a blog post. “It’s still higher than the target we set two years ago, but 5G cost estimates are getting low enough to make success look likely [but]the investment profile is likely to be slower than you expect, because we will see the behavior of a mature, established industry — not the dynamics of a growth market.”


Analyst Angle: 5G Is Key To Unlocking Mobile AR And VR Market Opportunities

From RCR Wireless, February 8, 2017

By Eric Abbruzzese, Senior Analyst, ABI Research


Editor’s Note from RCR Wireless: In the Analyst Angle section, we’ve collected a group of the industry’s leading analysts to give their outlook on the hot topics in the wireless industry.


New technology today requires three things to become ubiquitous: hardware, software and connectivity. If one of these is weak, the application of any new technology struggles. This is especially true with augmented reality and virtual reality, where head-mounted displays, associated software tools and the connectivity layer are areas of aggressive development. A massive bandwidth requirement for premium content combined with ubiquitous all-day device usage will bring about an unprecedented network strain. Qualcomm and ABI Research collaborated to produce a whitepaper on this topic, “Augmented and Virtual Reality: The First Wave of 5G Killer Apps.”


Why do we need 5G for AR/VR?

While AR and VR are receiving ample attention, “5G” is not far behind in terms of early discussion and excitement surrounding its potential. The true advantage of 5G in relation to AR/VR manifests in three components: more capacity, lower latency and better network uniformity. Some applications rely on one component more than another, but supporting all three simultaneously is critical to enabling all AR and VR use cases under the same network.


Following the guidelines set by IMT-2020, 5G aims to deliver:


  • 20 gigabit per second peak data rates.
  • 100 megabit per second data rates, even at cell edges.
  • 10 Mbps per square meter area capacity.
  • One millisecond roundtrip over-the-air latency.


This improves on current 4G capabilities with a 10-times increase in throughput, 10-times decrease in latency and 100-times increase in traffic capacity. Even with expected improvements, 4G capabilities will fall short when considering AR and VR uptake to the mass market and the race to increase the quality of the experience. AR and VR promise to transform the way content is consumed and communicated, and will no doubt help a wide variety of industries increase productivity and change the way they do business.


Workflow assistance and “see-what-I-see” remote interaction and guidance have seen strong uptake already among AR rollouts. On the VR side, major investment in VR-focused video has already begun, growing alongside the blossoming VR gaming market in content quantity, quality and variety. Both AR and VR applications can be very sensitive to network performance, with any interruption having a more significant negative impact on user experience, which reinforces the role of continued enhancements of mobile networks.


AR/VR applications enabled by 5G

Although current 4G networks are sufficient for some initial AR and VR applications, the introduction of 5G will strengthen existing experiences, enable novel ones and make these experiences available for mass adoption. 5G will not only improve, but will also be a requirement for some of the most exciting AR and VR use cases. The white paper examines four of these use cases, deemed by Qualcomm and ABI as exciting and interesting to watch when looking out through a 5G timeline. These include:


  • Automotive video streaming.
  • Event venue upload and download.
  • Six degrees of freedom (6DoF) video.
  • Remote control and tactile internet.


When examining the automotive market alongside a potential 5G timeline, increased carpooling and semi-/fully autonomous vehicles will begin to have an impact. Growth in these areas will present additional time for content consumption, but also challenges in terms of capacity and network uniformity requirements for streaming content. Streaming content to a moving vehicle presents unique challenges, such as network mobility, but it is something 5G will be able to cater to.


Upload and download applications at densely populated venues are already stressing wireless networks, and content upload by thousands of simultaneous users at a stadium will demand extreme capacity. While 4G is capable of handling most peaks of extreme concurrency seen today, the advent of worn, ubiquitous capture and consumption devices will exponentially increase throughput requirements. Imagine being at the Super Bowl and trying to live stream the kickoff along with 50,000 other fans using the multiple cameras in your convenient and hands-free AR glasses. Also, with the unique data visualization and immersive capabilities of AR and VR, novel in-stadium experiences will grow and similarly require higher capacity than currently possible.


The impressive growth of video streaming will only become more substantial as AR and VR grow in market share, with next-generation content formats like 6DoF video stressing networks even more with an individual data rate requirement in the range of 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Adding a spatial component to recorded video is a difficult proposition, but also an incredibly compelling one to deliver more immersive AR and VR experiences.


With great improvements in end-to-end latency promised with 5G, novel applications such as tactile internet begin to come into focus. Ideal end-to-end latency requirements in the 10 millisecond range will push the boundaries of these networks and could realistically require the target 5G roundtrip over-the-air latency goal of 1 millisecond. The early uptake of remote expertise applications in enterprise can be extrapolated to highlight the promise of tactile internet.


These use cases illustrate the need for additional capacity, lower latency, and more uniform experiences that 5G will bring at new levels of cost and energy efficiency, without which the industry will not be able to build solid business cases when mobilizing VR and AR applications. Moreover, new use cases for AR and VR will manifest as the capabilities of 5G networks actualize. ABI Research expects AR and VR to transform industries and 5G will be crucial in making that a reality.


Click here to see the article


NATE Unveils New Safety Video

NATE Unveils Safety Video on ANSI/ASSE A10.48 Standard

Video is First to Debut in Volume 2 of Climber Connection Series


(Watertown, South Dakota) – The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) today released a safety video highlighting the new ANSI/ASSE A10.48 Standard. The video is the first to debut as part of Volume 2 of the NATE Climber Connection series.


The A10.48 Standard – Criteria for Safety Practices with the Construction, Demolition, Modification and Maintenance of Communications Structures has been described as a game- changer for the industry as it has the distinction of being the first comprehensive standard encompassing the entire tower construction, service and maintenance industry.


The Climber Connection Volume 2 video includes an overview of the A10.48 Standard and practical information on gin poles and rigging class guidelines for the industry to follow in accordance with the standard. The video also includes epic aerial views and footage of hard working tower crews in action at a communications tower site.


“This video is an outstanding resource for companies and workers to utilize in order to become familiar with the key provisions outlined in the A10.48 Standard,” said Josh Forrester, a Foreman at Vertical Limit Construction, LLC in Wanamingo, Minnesota. “Embracing and implementing the A10.48 Standard into daily tower activities will enhance the culture of safety in the industry,” added Forrester.


Click HERE to watch the A10.48 safety video. NATE encourages tower climbers and all wireless industry stakeholders to actively participate in this campaign by posting the A10.48 video on their respective social networking platforms using the hashtag #ClimberConnection. NATE also encourages tower climbers to share their personal safety tips through social interaction on the Association’s Facebook and Twitter pages.


The Climber Connection Volume 2 campaign was developed by the NATE Member Services Committee in conjunction with the NATE Safety & Education Committee and is designed to provide specific resources and communicate the Association’s message directly to the industry’s elevated workforce.  For more information on NATE, visit www.natehome.com today.

NATE #ClimberConnection Video on ANSI/ASSE A10.48 Standard


The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) recently released a safety video highlighting the new ANSI/ASSE A10.48 Standard. The video is the first to debut as part of Volume 2 of the NATE Climber Connection series.


NATE #ClimberConnection Video on ANSI/ASSE A10.48 Standard


Click on the following link:




Enertech is a proud member of the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), a charter member of the NATE STAR Initiative, and supports its commitment to “safety first, safety always”.



Enertech also supports and promotes the NATE “100% Tie-off 24/7” initiative.

Enertech Announces Director of Environmental Health & Safety Promotion

Enertech Announces Director of Environmental Health & Safety Promotion


NEW BRAUNFELS, TX, February 27, 2017 – Enertech is pleased to announce the promotion of Cameron Swanson to the position of Director of Environmental Health & Safety, effective February 16, 2017.  Cameron joined Enertech on September 16th of 2016 with the acquisition of Ontivity where he served as the VP of Internal Planning and Operations.


“As Director of Environmental Health & Safety, I recognize that the safety of our employees is at the root of our core values; not only is safety our single greatest risk, but it is also our single greatest attribute. I am extremely thankful to be a part of the Enertech team and honored to be entrusted with a position of this magnitude. I look forward to leading the Enertech team through continuous training and development of our employees and remain committed to staying at the forefront of industry safety initiatives,” Cameron stated in reaction to the promotion.


In his new role as Director of Environmental Health & Safety, he will play a key role in working with new customers and bolstering relationships with current customers through Enertech’s unsurpassable commitment to safety.




About Enertech Resources:
Enertech is a vertically-integrated provider of wireless infrastructure solutions to the telecommunications industry. Comprehensive services include site development, engineering, structural modifications, maintenance, technology upgrades, small cell and DAS installation, turnkey site builds, and equipment installation and decommissioning.   Enertech’s customers include the nation’s leading telecommunication carriers, tower owner/operators, equipment manufacturers, and tower construction contractors.  The Company was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in New Braunfels, a suburb of San Antonio, Texas.  Enertech has additional locations in Austin, Houston, and Dallas, TX, as well as Phoenix, AZ, and Albuquerque, NM. For more information about Enertech Resources, please visit www.enertechresources.com.



Press Contact:

Name:             Courtney Griggs
Mobile:           830.310.4107
Email:             Courtney.Griggs@enertechresources.com

Moonlight Towers of Austin

Enertech completes restoration of the first of Austin’s seventeen historic Moonlight Towers; kicking off the project in Zilker Park.

Restoration of the Moonlight Towers includes sandblasting and a multi-step painting process, updating the existing lighting system by changing out the halogen lights to more efficient LED lights, performing structural analysis and reassembly. Enertech will complete the restoration with focus on maintaining the historical accuracy and ensuring structural integrity of the towers.

Installed in the 1890’s, the Moonlight Towers in Austin, TX are the only known surviving light towers in the world. Originally installed to light up several city blocks at a time, the towers are 165 feet tall and have a 15-foot foundation. In 1970, the towers were recognized as Texas State Landmarks, followed by the 17 remaining towers being listed in the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1976.

Annually, since 1967, the city of Austin transforms the Zilker Park Moon Tower into a beautifully lit Christmas tree for all to enjoy during the holiday season.

The Zilker Park tower was featured in the film Dazed and Confused (1993) as the site of a high school party, in which the character David Wooderson played by Matthew McConaughey exclaims, “Party at the moon tower.”

Click HERE for more on this story.

About Enertech
Enertech is a vertically-integrated provider of wireless infrastructure solutions to the telecommunications industry. Comprehensive services include site development, engineering, structural modifications, maintenance, technology upgrades, turnkey site builds, and equipment installation and decommissioning. Enertech’s customers include the nation’s leading telecommunication carriers, tower owner/operators, equipment manufacturers, and tower construction contractors.  The Company was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in New Braunfels, a suburb of San Antonio, Texas.  Enertech has additional locations in Austin, Houston, and Dallas, TX, and has recently launched a facility in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about Enertech, please visit www.enertechresources.com.