Everything You Need To Know about the LTEU/LAA Fight that the news gets wrong. Short Version.
Me: Cable, Wireless, there isn't any LTEU Wi-Fi curse! You guys have been fighting each other over nothing.
Cable: "But then who blocked the cooperation between 3GPP and IEEE? And who renamed LTEU 'Licensed Assisted Access'?"
Wireless: Oh yeah? Who freaked out at the Mobile World Conference in Madrid and pushed for an FCC proceeding?
Me: Guys! it wasn't either of you guys. It was Patent Troll over here (points to bound figure with fangs and pointy ears). He's the one who came up with the whole idea of the "LTEU curse" to get the wireless guys to pull out of the IEEE standards process.
Wireless: But why would he do that?
Charles Duan: Because IEEE was adopting a new fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) policy that would have required Patent Troll to license its essential patents on reasonable terms to rival chipmakers like Intel and Broadcom. Every time, Patent Troll lost a round on the FRAND policy at IEEE, he went back to 3GPP with stories of the LTEU Wi-Fi curse to get you to leave the IEEE standards process.
Cable: But if Wireless wasn't trying to kill Wi-Fi, why did they change the name to 'license assisted access?'
Christopher Lewis: Patent Troll convinced the wireless guys that unless they linked the use of LTE over unlicensed with licensed spectrum, and changed the name to get rid of the "unlicensed," they couldn't get rid of the LTEU Wi-Fi curse. Patent Troll didn't think there was anything y'all could do. But they didn't count on Public Knowledge pushing the issue in the 3.5 GHz band proceeding and helping get the FCC on the case.
Charles Duan: After that, Patent Troll needed to keep you both fighting. He had to push Wireless to get a pre-standard release out there BEFORE the FCC could push the standard process back on track.
Me: The more Patent Troll pushed Wireless to move quickly to deploy, the more Cable and GOOG became convinced Wireless *wanted* to destroy Wi-Fi.
GOOG: You mean wireless doesn't want to destroy Wi-Fi streaming?
Chris: We're not saying Wireless wouldn't love the opportunity to interfere with your mobile Wi-Fi system if you became a real competitive threat. I mean, hey, would you or cable turn down the technical capacity to mess up a competitor if you could get away with it.
Cable: True. [pause] I mean OF COURSE NOT!
Me: But the real reason wireless wanted LTEU is because they're spectrum constrained.
GOOG: How the heck are they spectrum constrained? Especially Verizon?
T-Mobile: Did you *see* how much the last spectrum auction cost? We bid $1.75 bn and came up with almost nothing! Even Verizon can't keep paying $10 billion forever.
VZ: We only have so many wireline systems we can sell off, and we have a streaming video service to launch. We need to have LTEU so we can charge people when they access our video ap over unlicensed spectrum as well as licensed spectrum due to its internal billing software [glares at cable] since SOMEBODY didn't want to share their Wi-Fi video on demand billing patents.
GOOG: But who is Patent Troll, and how did he convince the wireless guys about the "LTE Wi-Fi Curs."
Me: I think it's time to show you. [dramatically rips off rubber troll mask]
All: (Collective *gasp*) It's old man QUALCOMM!!
Charles Duan: Qualcomm has a huge number of essential patents for the 3GPP LTE standard. But if LTEU were a joint IEEE/3GPP standard, Qualcomm would have to license the essential patents to rival chipmakers Intel, Broadcom and Atheyros. That would not only cost Qualcomm billions of dollars in monopoly profits. It might have jeopardized Qualcomm's ability
Wireless: THAT's why Qualcomm started LTEU forum! To keep control and keep the standards process away from IEEE and Wi-Fi Forum.
Me: Exactly. Qualcomm hoped to throw the FCC off the trail by releasing a stand alone version of LTEU. They muddied the issue further by dropping the LAA name and making it look to the Wall St. Journal and everyone else like this was a fight between cable and wireless. But really it was Qualcomm playing you both the whole time!
Qualcomm: And I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for those stupid PKers and that dumb Wetmachine blog.
Me: Time for PK-snacks! Which you can get by attending our IP3 awards next week, so remember to buy tickets here.