The Connectivity Expo, or Connect X show, wrapped up after a three-day expo of all things wireless in Orlando this week with lots of discussion about the merger of the number three and four wireless carriers. With FCC Commissioner Pai giving his support for the deal during the show, the deal talk was amped up considerably. T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray gave a very informative Keynote on the company’s view of what the combined NEW T-Mobile will do regarding 5G and more coverage for rural users. With a combination of humor and humble straight talk, he described how the combination of T-Mobile’s lowband spectrum that it recently purchased and Sprint’s 2.5 GHz midband spectrum would be a winning combination for 5G services going forward.
What will all of this mean for CRE firms and wireless industry players? While Mr. Ray himself acknowledged that there may be some consolidation of overlapping sites (where both carriers have transmitters), the need to add towers, rooftops, and small cell locations, especially in rural locations, will be necessary to increase coverage. T-Mobile seems to have the money, the spectrum, and the will to challenge the other two major carriers for the best coverage title, and the Sprint deal simply adds to their capability to do so.
The rest of the show was a learning experience for industry players about Fiber, 5G, In–Building schemes, Edge Computing, and much discussion on a new band of frequency, the 3.5 GHz spectrum known as Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). While the Connect X show typically does have companies introduce new products, this year’s show seemed to be more focused on how vendors intend to roll out new wireless and fiber strategies, especially regarding CBRS.
Three key takeaways from the show this year for property owners:
- There will be more people coming to visit you to use your property for transmitting wireless.
- Since 80 percent of calls are initiated indoors, you must make sure you have good wireless coverage inside your buildings as a growing number of tenant amenities and proptech applications need a wireless network to function.
- There is no wireless without FIBER. Get as much fiber as you possibly can and bring it as deep into your buildings as possible