Sprint chief technology officer John Saw and CEO Marcelo Claure have revealed the 5G strategy of the company in the US wireless market.
Sprint, the fourth largest wireless operator in America, will deploy Massive MIMO radios, increasing network capacity across the country in 2018 and 2019. Massive MIMO offers 5G-like experience to wireless customers.
As part of Sprint’s Next-Gen network strategy, it is focusing on Massive MIMO technology. Sprint will be increasing its investment to improve coverage, reliability, and speed across its mobkle network and launch the first 5G mobile network in the U.S in the first half of 2019.
Sprint engineers will be upgrading cell sites to tri-band service using 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz, and 2.5 GHz, adding new cell sites to expand coverage, and densifying the network with more small cells to increase capacity and speed.
The SoftBank-promoted telecom operator will launch limited 5G in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Starting in April, Sprint’s wireless customers in select U.S. markets will receive the nation’s first 5G mobile network in the first half of 2019.
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Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles will begin receiving 5G capabilities, including significant increases in data speed and capacity, as Sprint rolls out advanced network technology called Massive MIMO.
Sprint will expand to additional markets including Atlanta, Houston and Washington, D.C. later this year.
“The race to 5G is heating up, and let me be clear, today’s announcement is a huge step toward Sprint being first to offer a 5G mobile network,” said Marcelo Claure, Sprint CEO.
Sprint’s 5G-ready Massive MIMO cell sites are capable of delivering up to 10 times the capacity of current LTE systems, significantly increasing data speeds for more customers in high-traffic locations.
“Massive MIMO is a game-changer for TDD-LTE networks that’s being used by leading operators around the world to deploy Gigabit LTE and 5G,” said John Saw, Sprint Chief Technology Officer.
Sprint customers using a 2.5 GHz (band 41) device will benefit from the increased capacity and speed provided by Massive MIMO.
Sprint will deploy 64T64R (64 transmit, 64 receive) Massive MIMO radios using 128 antennas working with technology companies Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung. The Massive MIMO radios from these three tech suppliers are software-upgradable to 5G without additional tower climbs.
Massive MIMO radios support split-mode service, enabling Sprint to offer both 4G LTE and 5G on the same radio.
With 204 MHz of spectrum and more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 markets, Sprint will have enough capacity to deliver a nationwide 5G mobile network using licensed spectrum.
Because of Sprint’s large spectrum holdings it is also one of the only operators in the world with enough capacity to operate LTE and 5G simultaneously over 100-200 MHz on the same Massive MIMO radios.