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The State of the 5G Rollout

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Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Let's jump ahead and talk a little bit about the rollout, about the cellular piece of the five Cs of 5G. How's the rollout going? I know we've seen some specialty market rollout. We've seen some things at Levi's Stadium and we've seen some things in Vegas. Can you talk about some real-world examples of where it's been rolled out, and what's happened there?

Eric Bolten: I'll pick that up to start. Certainly--Verizon--these guys publish and push it out. For major cities and major markets, I believe 30 is the target of this year, which is a lot of markets. When you think about it, you've got Boston and New York and Washington, and you say Vegas and LA and San Francisco and Miami, et cetera. Part of this has to do with what we started the conversation about--infrastructure, venues, city public areas are going to become very different. You're gonna walk through Times Square with access to things that you just never had.

So I think a lot of this has to do with introducing and allowing the realm of the possible to be experienced by the consumer, and for us and our side of the industry to start to utilize and leverage this infrastructure and how we're going to produce and deliver all that content. It's a lot faster to roll out radio than it is to roll a bunch of cables, whether it's glass or copper. And so, ultimately, this is going to push fairly quickly. And as we also touched on, the ATSC 3.0 stuff is going to just extend that reach even further and faster. So, lots of moving parts all coming together at the same time.

Jason Thibeault: I'll be the naysayer. So, not for a while. The rollout is very limited right now, especially for Millimeter Wave technology. That's what ultra-wideband is, right? And that allows that big pipe--you go to fast.com and you're hitting 700 megabits per second on your mobile phone. That rollout is very limited right now. And the reason for that is because the cells must be placed in a much more saturated environment. The Millimeter Wave technology has a very short distance because of the frequency. And so you have to have a lot more cells placed around some things. You have to place Picocells, and they can be tiny little things. You have to have them everywhere--line of sight, on the pole.

That kind of saturation just takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of buy-in from the cities. So you've got small townships or even big cities who say, "Yeah, we, we don't really want to do that right now," or, "Hey, we want to do that, but we want a cut of something because you're asking to put cells up everywhere and we don't need that. People have cellular communications, we have towers. We're good to go."

So I think that the rollout is happening in certain markets where it makes a lot of sense, like Vegas--betting. Let's put a lot of Picocells there. It's happening in arenas. Again, closed environment. You don't have to talk to anybody. You just say, "Hey, arena, let's partner. We're Verizon. We want to do this. It's going to be awesome." And the arena says, "Thumbs up. We're in."

So I think we're seeing that. And then, to what Eric said, that consumers are going to go to these places and have this amazing content experience on their phone. They'll say, "Wow, why can't I get this at home?" And mind you, I live, in an AT & T market in Dallas, and I'm on Verizon, so obviously there's sharing, but I happen upon an ultra-wideband area once in a blue moon, and it's like, "Oh my gosh, it's ultra-wide band." And then I start doing as much as I possibly can while I'm there and watching every piece of content I can. But again, it's such a small limited area. So it is happening. It's just not going to happen as fast as we want it to, which is why the B2B part of it is so important. All that infrastructure. That's what's really driving this, the sort of cellular, the bridge from B2B to the consumer is just going to happen a bit more slowly for that really wideband stuff.

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