UPDATED 5/5: Sprint revealed its first push into 5G testing, with CEO Marcelo Claure commenting on yesterday’s Q1 results call that the US mobile operator will trial 4K streaming services at June’s Centennial Copa America soccer event.
Claure said Sprint will work with vendors Nokia and Ericsson at two stadiums “to demonstrate the 5G capabilities using millimetric band radios”.
Sprint is a sponsor of the tournament, which will mark 100 years since the first Copa America event. It is a purely ceremonial tournament, marketed as a special edition between the usual four-year cycle tournament (last held in 2015), and will feature an expanded field of 16 teams (an increase from the usual 12). All previous Copa America events have been held in South America.
The tournament, which starts 3 June and ends 26 June, consists of 32 soccer matches. Those matches will be held in 10 cities around the country including Chicago; Houston; Philadelphia; Glendale, Arizona; Santa Clara, California; Pasadena, California; Seattle; Orlando, Florida; East Rutherford, New Jersey; and Foxborough, Massachusetts.
FierceWirelessTech reports that earlier this week Ericsson filed a ‘Special Temporary Authority’ application to conduct a test at Lincoln Financial Field Stadium in Philadelphia on 9, 11 and “possibly” 14 June in the 15GHz spectrum band, while Nokia filed a similar application last month for a test at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on 3 and 6 June.
2.5GHz spectrum band
“We are participating in the development of the global 5G standard, and we’re collaborating with our partners and other companies on the 5G opportunity,” said Claure. “We view our 2.5 GHz spectrum at the low band spectrum of 5G and Sprint is well-positioned for 5G with the spectrum holdings of more than 160 MHz of 2.5 spectrum on average across the top 100 US markets, giving Sprint more high band capacity than any other carrier in the United States.”
Sprint’s plans come as its rivals crank up development of testing around 5G. Last month Mobile World Live reported on AT&T’s Austin, Texas, fixed wireless trial due this summer, while Verizon has stated its ambition to be the first US operator to launch 5G after carrying out a number of successful field trials so far.
Number three operator T-Mobile has also announced field trial plans with Nokia and Ericsson, scheduled for later this year.
The first official release of a 5G standard isn’t expected until mid 2018, with phase two following by the end of 2019 (hence industry consensus that most operators will launch 5G from 2020).