Today at MWC Barcelona, Sprint (NYSE: S) announced that standards-based 5G is now on-air, with commercial service expected to launch starting in May. Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City are expected to be among the first cities to offer commercial 5G service; with Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington D.C. also slated to launch in the first half of 2019.
At launch, Sprint’s highly mobile, on-the-go customers can expect mobile 5G coverage ranging from nearly 30 square miles covering Midtown and lower Manhattan, to approximately 230 square miles spanning the greater Dallas Fort Worth area, for a total initial 5G coverage footprint of more than 1,000 square miles across all nine cities.
"We’re excited to play our part in advancing the next generation of wireless technology as we prepare to debut our mobile 5G service in nine markets," said Sprint CEO Michel Combes. "Even better, when combined with T-Mobile we will be able to roll out 5G in more places, more quickly, building an incredible nationwide 5G network that reaches underserved communities, accelerates competition, and drives new levels of U.S. innovation and progress."
Sprint 5G is currently on-air in downtown Chicago where the company is testing and optimizing its deployment of standards-based 5G software and hardware using Massive MIMO radios from Samsung Electronics America Inc. Initial drive tests show Sprint 5G is providing connectivity in the downtown area, from the Magnificent Mile and the Loop to University of Illinois at Chicago.
"Wireless customers are soon going to have their first mobile 5G experience with Sprint, and it won’t be limited to their home or a millimeter wave hotspot," said Sprint CTO Dr. John Saw. "Real 5G is now on-air in Chicago, marking a major milestone for the commercialization of Sprint 5G using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO to provide fast speeds and true mobility."
Mobile Gaming on the First 5G Smartphone
Sprint 5G will power new experiences for wireless customers, from gaming and entertainment services, to IoT and business applications. As part of an agreement announced today with cloud gaming provider Hatch, Sprint customers will be able to experience mobile 5G cloud gaming with access to more than 100 premium games and cloud streaming of live games and tournaments.
Sprint customers will experience the power of 5G and its many applications this spring using Sprint’s first 5G smartphone. Unveiled yesterday by LG Electronics at MWC, LG V50 ThinQ 5G boasts a new way to interact with the world using touchless control that lets users perform common tasks hands-free with just a wave. State-of-the-art security technology protects this phone with three forms of advanced ID, featuring Hand ID vein recognition technology. And the large OLED screen, which doubles as a speaker, provides an immersive entertainment experience.
This spring, Sprint customers can also kick their data speeds into turbo drive using HTC 5G Hub. As a first-of-its-kind dedicated 5G mobile smart hub, this versatile device enables smooth 4K video streaming and mobile gaming serving up to 20 users as a 5G mobile hotspot. A 5-inch HD touchscreen allows for ease of use and high-quality visuals, and long-lasting power makes for a travel companion that harnesses 5G speeds.
Massive MIMO the Foundation of Sprint 5G
In addition to deploying mobile 5G with Samsung in Chicago, Sprint is also field testing standards-based 5G in multiple markets, including in Los Angeles with Nokia and in Atlanta with Ericsson. In December, Sprint, with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, completed its first over-the-air 5G data transmission using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO on its live network in San Diego.
Sprint’s 5G build is well under way with hundreds of Massive MIMO radios deployed. Massive MIMO is a breakthrough technology that dramatically improves the capacity of Sprint’s LTE Advanced network with equipment that is software upgradable to 5G. Sprint’s 64T64R Massive MIMO radios from Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung support split-mode, enabling the company to offer LTE and 5G simultaneously on the same radio. With Massive MIMO at the foundation of its mobile 5G service, Sprint can keep meeting its customers’ demand for unlimited data and high-bandwidth applications.
Sprint Demos at MWC Barcelona
Attendees at MWC are getting a first-hand look at Sprint 5G. In the Ericsson booth (Hall 2), Sprint and Ericsson are demonstrating Massive MIMO 5G split-mode which simultaneously uses LTE and standards-based 5G NR. Attendees can observe the live 5G system showing end-to-end connectivity, eMBB and streaming video using the LG V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone. In addition, visitors will also find a demo of Sprint’s Curiosity IoT platform.
In the Nokia booth (Hall 3), Sprint and Nokia are demonstrating split-mode LTE and standards-based 5G NR using Massive MIMO. Attendees can observe the live 5G system showing end-to-end connectivity and experience streaming video with the recently unveiled LG V50 ThinQ and Virtual Reality applications using HTC Focus VR headsets connected to Sprint’s HTC 5G Hub.
At the Samsung Networks booth (Hall 2 - 2M20), the company will showcase its commercial 2.5 GHz 64T64R Massive MIMO unit, as well as a video of 5G field testing with Sprint in Chicago, IL.
Sprint’s upcoming 5G devices will also be on display at LG (Hall 3), HTC (Hall 7) and Qualcomm (Hall 3). In addition, Sprint TREBL with Magic Box will be on display in the HARMAN Connected Services booth (Hall 2- 2L20).
As Sprint works to bring 5G to nine U.S. markets, the company continues to advocate for a merger with T-Mobile, knowing that together the companies will build an incredible nationwide 5G network that neither company can achieve on its own. The combined company will have the resources and technology to build a 5G network that fuels innovation across every industry, dramatically increasing competition, unleashing new economic growth and creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in U.S. economic value.