Sprint has achieved download speeds of approximately 3Gbps over its 2.5GHz 5G network after Nokia processed a software upgrade on its commercial AirScale solution. The lab test featured an upgraded E-UTRAN New Radio – Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) solution and 16 layers of Multi-User-Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO).
The service uses existing hardware but requires an upgrade to the software in the base station which can be performed remotely. This means that operators will be able to offer enhanced services without any requirement for site visits to change hardware or transport. When the service is made commercially available, it will allow operators to vastly increase their network capacity via a software update without having to invest in additional spectrum.
Nokia acted as Sprint’s 5G vendor partner in four cities to date, namely New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Washington, DC. (A separate vendor partner, Ericsson, deployed 5G networks in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Kansas City, while Chicago also boasts 5G connectivity, courtesy of Samsung.)