Following in the footsteps of AT&T, Sprint has announced their first six cities in the United States where they will be deploying their Massive MIMO technology include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.. The Massive MIMO technology serves as a bridge to get customers a 5G experience while the actual 5G deployment goes on behind the scenes.
“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. “Our deep spectrum position gives us an incredible advantage no other carrier has in the U.S. We’re making significant investments using state-of-the-art technology, and working with leading chip and handset partners to deliver an incredible Next-Gen Network for our customers.”
Deployment of the fifth generation mobile network from Sprint is slated to roll out in 2019.
Sprint will deploy 64T64R (64 transmit, 64 receive) Massive MIMO radios using 128 antennas working with technology leaders Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung Electronics. The Massive MIMO radios from all three suppliers are software-upgradable to 5G without additional tower climbs. The Massive MIMO radios support split-mode service, enabling Sprint to offer both 4G LTE and 5G on the same radio.
Much like what AT&T is doing, Sprint is deploying technology that can be upgraded which means users in the target cities should enjoy improved LTE coverage and speed and when the software upgrade is deployed on this equipment, 5G speeds. That, of course, assumes that devices will be able to handle that speed which is not the case. Compatible phones are not expected to be on the market until 2019, by which time all of the major carriers will have some level of fifth generation network available.