Mobilitie: Fake News; FCC Fines; and Churchill’s Barking Dog.

Mr. Jason Caliento, the Executive Vice President of Network Strategy at Mobilitie, presented the keynote address and a follow-up discussion at the AGL Summit on September 27, 2018. That Summit was held in Kansas City as an ongoing part of AGL’s (very important for municipal officials and industry personnel alike) lecture series.

I spoke at the AGL Summit on a 5G topic, but that’s not the focus of this post.

Mr. Jason Caliento (left) with Mr. Bryan Tramont.  Photo  Copyright © 2018 by Dr. Jonathan Kramer

The focus of this post is a snippet of about 2 minutes and 40 seconds of the one-on-one follow-up discussion with Mr. Bryan Tramont, Esq., the Managing Partner of Wilkinson Baker Knauer, LLP. The subject of that portion of their exchange was the 2018 Consent Decree between the FCC, Sprint, and Mobilitie. That Decree was adopted and released on April 10, 2018. (CLICK HERE to download and read the Consent Decree.)

In their relatively short exchange, Mr. Caliento managed to claim that there was some sort of ‘fake news’ involvement in the story about Sprint and Mobilitie violating the FCC’s rules; that the ends justified the means; and that Mr. Caliento seems guided by Sir Winston Churchill’s quote, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” I suppose an apparently intentional program between Mobilitie and Sprint to build sites absent required regulatory permissions is the barking dog in his odd analogy.

Please listen to Mr. Caliento’s comments responding to Mr. Tramont on this topic in its entity.  Then you may decide for yourself what you think of Mobilitie’s and Sprint’s (presumably and hopefully former) approach to regulatory compliance:

Okay. I suppose that’s one way to spin intentionally violating federal regulations because the ends seem to justify Mobilitie’s and Sprint’s means. Further, as for the ends justifying the means, apparently paying the FCC an $11 million dollar fine seems a very small and economical price to Mobilitie and Sprint given the billions Mr. Caliento claims that they have saved (and presumably will save).

I opine that now we know the real fake news.


PS: The next AGL Summit is in Atlanta, Georgia on November 8th. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend, but I highly recommend this event to municipal officials who want the real story about what’s happening in the coming 5G world. -jlk


New Mobilitie Design: The ‘Fanny Pack’

Mobilitie, the purveyor for Sprint of such new but instant classic wireless designs as:

The “Speargun” Design * (see below)


The “Pox on a Pole” Design (this is the Walrus version) *


The “Stick it Up Your Pole” Design * # (see below)

…has (finally) come up with a fairly-decent site configuration.  I call the new design the “Fanny Pack.”  Here’s what it looks like, as recently deployed in the City of Los Angeles:

The “Fanny Pack” Design *

The RRU, UE (backhaul) Relay, the power distribution, and elements other than the downlink antenna are all located within the Fanny Pack.

I see the Fanny Pack design as Mobilitie’s best efforts to date to come with and deploy a closer-to-mainline wireless site that is far less awful that its prior outdoors site configurations.  There are some site deployment issues with the Fanny Pack design, but those issues are relatively easy to address.

We’ve seen plans for the same basic Fanny Pack design, but with the equipment enclosure on the back of the pole.  Needless to say, we’ll refer to that as the “Back Pack” when deployed.  Photos to follow after the first Back Pack goes up near us.

Keep up this better work, Mobilitie!


* Okay, as you should have guessed by now, these are my design names, not Mobilitie’s. Got it? Good!

# Ms. Shannon Nichols, a NCE Permitting Manager for Mobilitie in Southern California told me on 12/6/2017 that the wood pole configuration shown above, with its standoff bracket and equipment, was a design requirement of the City of Los Angeles.  She went on to say that Mobilitie would have preferred to have its equipment flush to the body of the pole.  Thanks for the clarification, Shannon.


Sprint Uses My Photo of Mobilitie to Promote Small Cells

I guess Sprint really, really likes my cell site photo collection, and photos I use in my lectures.  So much, in fact, that they they included one of my annotated photos of a Mobilitie ‘pox-on-a-pole’ site in Los Angeles as a presentation tool in an Ex Parte meeting with 9 staff members at the FCC on October 23, 2017.  Here’s my annotated photo, used by Sprint in its Ex Parte presentation:

Did Sprint bother to ask me for permission to use my intellectual property in its Ex Parte presentation?

Of course not.

Does my annotated photograph above, used by Sprint without my permission, look like the type of cell you’d want in front of your residential balcony?

I suspect not.

Hey, Sprint (and specifically Keith Buell), the next time you’d like to use my intellectual property, please consider giving me a call first.

Here’s a link to Sprint’s Ex Parte 4-page filing containing MY photo: CLICK HERE.




Sprint, T-Mobile, Cable TV, Mobilitie, and Removal Bonds

Months ago I was pondering the society news pages talking about Sprint pursuing a marriage with the cable TV industry.  Today the society pages say the off-again, on-again romance between Sprint and T-Mobile is back on-again, and may well lead to their marriage.  If that marriage is consummated, I think it’s likely that T-Mobile will force Sprint to breakup with Mobilitie.  (Think Diana, Charlie, and Camilla.  One too many.)

Ricochet node hanging below a street light arm.

I’m sure that many–especially Mobilitie–hoped that the Sprint/Mobilitie relationship would blossom into a love that could survive the test of time. Alas, I don’t think that is in the cards, or the stars.  Cable TV and T-Mobile both seem to prefer fiber backhaul over wireless backhaul because, well, it just makes more speed and capacity sense over the long term.

From a local government perspective, this sad evolving ‘left-after-the-alter’ story (that might involve Mobilitie) strongly suggests that we must more carefully consider requiring small cell/DAS providers to post removal bonds as a condition of approval of new right-of-way installations.  It seems likely that some providers of small cell services and backhaul will survive, while some with less robust and less saleable networks will not.

What we in local government service must avoid is a repeat of the Metricom (Ricochet) fiasco in 2001.  That radio backhaul internet firm went belly-up, bankrupt, and abandoned thousands of their wireless nodes on street lights in major cities across the U.S.  For years many of those nodes sucked street light power until the local power entity manually disconnected the ballast/photocell tap above the cobra head.  Many of those abandoned nodes can still be seen on street lights today.

It is not the bonds of wireless matrimony that count anymore; it is indemnification provisions and the performance bonds (or even the irrevocable letters of credit) to ensure removal of otherwise abandoned equipment that count.

That’s my opinion.  What’s yours?




Mobilitie Upping its Design of Neighborhood Small Cells

I’m pleased (and frankly a bit surprised) to say that Mobilitie has come up with a small cell light-standard design that is much closer to reality, and likely within the range of a design that many jurisdictions will be willing to consider and approve.

Once I have designated deemed-complete design, I’ll share it with you, but for now know that we may have seen the last of the infamous Mobility Pox-on-a-pole design, or the Speer Gun design, or the Thoughtless-wiring design.

This doesn’t mean that the 70′ and 120′ tall “small cells” are dead and gone, sadly, but the local distribution site clearly are getting more real.


(Hi Gary)


Where there’s smoke (at Sprint and Mobilitie)…

After reading Lydia Beyoud’s Sprint/Mobilitie article while returning from a lecture Tripp and I presented in Cleveland, something occurred to me: the common connection between smoke and fire.

Presuming the existence of the email at the source of Lydia’s article, it documents the end of an experiment to bypass some government permitting requirements to build small cells. This strongly suggests, based on a presumption of the existence of the Sprint memo, that there must be other, earlier and coincidental documents within Sprint and Mobilitie, and ‘at-risk’ and other memos to and from their contractors, that further describe the scheme’s planning and execution.

However the alleged Sprint memo from last week made its way to Ms. Beyoud, one certainly wonders whether other documents will surface to help flesh out the details of what is looking like a odious, if not illegal, plan.



Mobilitie Shocker: A Reasonably-Decent Camouflaged Design

After Mobilitie’s Gary Jabara’s particularly repugnant and inexcusably-insulting remarks about local governments published in AGL Magazine last month, who would have expected his firm to finally join the rest of the wireless industry and propose enclosing site equipment within radomes atop light standards?

What’s even more shocking is that this design does away with all of the external equipment (save for a pedestal-mounted utility power meter, which might not be necessary in every case).   Below is a capture of a photo simulation from a Mobilitie project submitted to a local government in Southern California.

Photo simulation by Mobilitie; new site design proposed in Southern California. Site identifying details deleted by Dr. Jonathan Kramer.

The 7′ tall radome on top of the replacement light standard encloses the subscriber-link antenna, the RRU, the backhaul (UE) relay equipment, and power distribution cabling.

Compare the newer, more thoughtful design above to Mobilitie’s legacy pox-on-a-pole “Walrus” configuration (my identification; not Mobilitie’s) being deployed in the City of Los Angeles:

Existing Mobilitie ‘Pox-on-a-Pole Walrus’ site in Los Angeles. Photo by Dr. Jonathan Kramer.

It’s encouraging to see that at least the site designers at Mobilitie are starting to step up their game addressing local government aesthetic concerns, notwithstanding what the top leadership at Mobilitie seems to think of those local governments.

It’s time for all local governments approached by Mobilitie to push back for reasonable camouflaged designs, at reasonable heights, rejecting their ridiculous pox-on-a-pole designs of what I call Mobilitie’s Rev 0.7.




Mobilitie CEO Gary Jabara Loves Local Governments

“It comes down to how … stupid the elected officials … are. There are many stupid cities around the country – really dumb. They’re greedy…They don’t give a s*** about their constituents.”

-Mobilitie CEO Gary Jabara quoted by Don Bishop (the Executive Editor and Associate Publisher of AGL Media Group) in “Seeing Wireless Service as Essential Speaks to the Future of Wireless Infrastructure.” AGL Magazine, March 2017, p. 38

That was the opening quote in the NATOA (et al) Reply Comments in the Mobilitie Petition for Declaratory Ruling.  Read the entire reply comments here:   NATOA REPLY COMMENTS.

What strikes me as “really dumb” is how Mobilitie’s patron, Sprint has not figured out how (or doesn’t care) to control the mouth that spews such ignorance with such arrogance.

A joke going around the industry is that the DAS companies created Mobilitie so that they’d look good in comparison.  Hummm.

That’s my opinion.  What’s yours?



Bad Night for Mobilitie in Denison, Texas

According to published reports in the Herald Democrat newspaper, Mobilitie lost twice last night at the Denison, Texas Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals. The Board ruled that Mobilitie lacked proper City authorizations and permits when it constructed two poles in Denison’s right of way late last December.

The HD article is well worth reading for its factual recounting of how Mobilitie used its own application and some odd interactions with the City’s Water Forman, one Mr. Brad Park.  It turns out that an email chain does not an application make.

Result: ZBA ordered Mobilitie to remove its towers (one of which had already been removed).