threw a party this past week for 5G. The company is refocusing on its wired and
roots, with spinoffs of DirecTV and WarnerMedia in the works. At a New York City loft, bathed in AT&T-blue mood lighting and lo-fi beats, AT&T execs, a Google representative, and actor-turned-tech-investor Ashton Kutcher waxed poetic about the promise of 5G to “untether” gamers from consoles, bring augmented reality to people on the move, and enable telemedicine.
Many of those applications are possible on 4G networks or over Wi-Fi, but 5G promises to make them more mobile and responsive. AT&T and its partners just need to convince consumers. That explains demonstrations of 5G-enabled applications like Stadia (from
Google), a Space Jam AR film experience (from WarnerMedia), download-speed tests, and 5G partnerships with
Boingo Wireless, and the NBA.
AT&T said its 5G Nationwide network now reaches 250 million Americans, using mostly low-band wireless spectrum, which carries a signal farther than higher-frequency bands; it’s good for covering large areas, but lacks 5G’s full high-speed, low latency promise. And AT&T’s lightning-fast 5G+, which serves parts of 38 cities and some venues, requires dense antenna arrays.
Midband spectrum trades off range and capacity. Telecoms spent $81 billion early this year for midband spectrum licenses ($23 billion from AT&T). The company expects to cover up to 75 million people with so-called C-Band by the end of 2022, with 200 million a year later. Until then, it’s all about the magic.
Retreat from the Summit
Stocks rose as earnings season began, hitting the trifecta: all three major indexes at records. But inflation ran hotter than expected in June, up 5.4% from a year earlier, overshadowing strong, if expected, bank earnings. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continued to insist that inflation was transitory, and chip stocks sank on shortage fears. So much for records. On the week, the Dow industrials lost 0.5%, to 34,687.85; the S&P 500 shed 1%, to 4327.16; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.9%, to 14,427.24.
Up and Down
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic successfully tested a suborbital flight with the boss onboard. The much-hyped event proceeded perfectly, after the spacecraft dropped from a mother plane and rose 53 miles—enough for moments of weightlessness. Branson talked of taking space tourists on daily flights, but the stock thudded 17% on plans to sell $500 million in new shares. Next up is Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, with its boss onboard.
The Group of 20 approved a global corporate minimum tax. In response, the European Union said it would postpone a digital tax on mostly big U.S. tech companies. The next challenge: U.S. congressional approval.
Cuba’s government cracked down on protests across the country. In Haiti, confusion reigned over who was in charge after the president was gunned down at home. In Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller stepped down as the U.S. pullout neared its end.
Musk on the Stand
CEO Elon Musk testified in a shareholder lawsuit accusing him of forcing Tesla to overpay in its merger with solar panel maker Solar City, which he had co-founded. Musk attacked the plaintiff’s attorney, Randall Baron—“I think…