Finally!  Sprint Merges with T-Mobile for $26.5 Billion After A Year of Chatter

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After a year and a bit of talking, not talking, talking again, not talking again, and finally talking, Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed to merge as one company known as T-Mobile.  The $26.5 billion all stock transaction still has to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) here in the United States but it is likely to happen.  The new merged company will put serious pressure on the two biggest mobile carriers here in the US, AT&T and Verizon, as the new company will be focused on delivering 5G.

“This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience – and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own,” said John Legere. “As industry lines blur and we enter the 5G era, consumers and businesses need a company with the disruptive culture and capabilities to force positive change on their behalf.”

The merged company is expected to be a boon for consumers too.  It is likely that plans will drop for existing Sprint customers as the companies come together over the course of 2018.

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Sprint Announces First Six 5G Cities Targets for Deployment This Year

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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.

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AT&T 5G Rollout to Start at Home in Dallas Later This Year

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AT&T has announced that their initial 5G rollout will begin close to home in Dallas along with Atlanta, and Waco, Texas.  The initial rollout will be on millimeter wave spectrum and will comply with the non-standalone standard of the 3GPP.  That standard was ratified late last year.

The announcement from the carrier follows up on a previous announcement made last month that laid out their intention to have 5G in a dozen cities by the end of this year.  Yesterday’s announcement clarified where it will happen first and the technology involved.

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AT&T Expects to Launch a True 5G Network This Year

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AT&T has somewhat thrown down the gauntlet to its competitors when it comes to Fifth Generation (5G) mobile networks.  The carrier announced that they plan to have true 5G coverage in a dozen cities by late 2018 and aim to be the first to offer the next generation, high speed mobile data solution.

This will be different than the pseudo 5G that both AT&T and Verizon are offering which, more-or-less, is beefed up 4G.  Indeed, AT&T plans to continue development on what they market as their “5G Evolution” product, which is currently available in 23 cities.

The carrier was clear in pointing out that they can accelerate their plans thanks to the 5G NR (New Radio) standard that was defined last month by the 3GPP.  That standard means that manufactures can start working on modems and chips sets and carriers will know what to expect and can build their networks.

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First 5G NR (New Radio) Specs Ratified

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At their working meeting in Lisbon, Portugal today, the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partner Project) has ratified the standard for the first 5G New Radio.  Setting the specifications of this first 5G NR is critical as it becomes the standard by which carriers and manufactures use to build or utilize 5G networks respectively.  The news isn’t surprising as they have been working tirelessly to come up with a standard early so the transition from 4G to 5G is as smooth as possible.

When 5G begins rolling out, it will leverage the backbone of today’s LTE networks and will focus primarily on data.  It will also utilize sub-6GHz that many carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile have been purchasing rabidly.  Because the focus of this first NSA 5G (Non-Stand Alone), specifications for calls are not outlined in the initial specification.

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