US mobile operator Sprint has debuted what it claims is ‘the first US deployment of Gigabit Class LTE live on a commercial network’. The demonstration, which was carried out in conjunction with Qualcomm Technologies and Motorola Mobility, took place at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, and utilised what has been described as a ‘forthcoming flagship premium tier smartphone’. The Gigabit Class LTE service utilises a 60MHz block of 2.5GHz spectrum – in a three-channel carrier aggregation (CA) configuration – in combination with 4X4 multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology and 256-QAM higher order modulation. Going forward, Sprint plans to use its 2.5GHz spectrum to offer its Gigabit Class LTE service in high-traffic locations across the country. This rollout is a component of Sprint’s strategy to build a strong foundation for 5G by densifying its network with the addition of small cells and smart antennas.
Sprint claims that it is in possession of a total of 204MHz worth of spectrum in the US, and holds more than 160MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum in the top 100 markets, meaning it has more licensed spectrum capacity to deploy Gigabit Class LTE than any other US carrier.