Sprint to deploy 5G network in late-2019 using 2.5GHz spectrum

17 May 2017

Sprint, Japanese parent company SoftBank, and vendor Qualcomm Technologies have announced an agreement to collaborate on the development of technologies for 5G. This will include developing the 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standard for its 2.5GHz spectrum, which Sprint anticipates will enable it to deploy commercial 5G wireless technology in late 2019.

Dr John Saw, CTO at Sprint, commented: ‘With more than 160MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum in the top 100 US markets, Sprint has more mobile-ready 5G spectrum than any other US carrier. Today we’re using this advantage to densify our network with more cell sites and antennas to build a strong foundation for 5G … Today’s most advanced radio antennas are 8T8R (eight transmitters, eight receivers). It is what we use on our 2.5GHz cell sites. And 8T8R is only possible using high-band spectrum – an 8T8R antenna using 600MHz spectrum would be impractically huge! But we are not done yet. We plan to take Sprint Gigabit LTE to the next level with 64T64R (that’s 128 antenna elements!) Massive MIMO [massive multiple-input, multiple-output] antennas. This will increase our cell site capacities five-to-ten times, to reach 3Gbps-6Gbps per sector, long before 5G arrives.’