Sprint CTO John Saw (pictured) revealed the operator’s Massive MIMO deployment this year will enable it to kill two birds with one stone by serving its current LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and future 5G networks.
Speaking at an investor conference, Saw said Sprint holds enough spectrum at 2.5GHz to deploy half for LTE-A and half for 5G on a single Massive MIMO site: “I can run 5G NR and LTE simultaneously on the same Massive MIMO site, without climbing the tower again in 2019. So I can simultaneously support both over this Massive MIMO radio.”
Saw noted the duality means as Sprint deploys Massive MIMO “we’re really starting to build a 5G network that also supports LTE-Advanced.”
Sprint previously announced plans to deploy Massive MIMO in the first half of this year, with the goal of launching mobile 5G by end-2019. The new 64T64R Massive MIMO units being installed will replace 8T8R antennas, offering up to a ten-time increase in sector capacity and eventually enabling speeds of up to 6Gb/s.
While the company is focused on mobile 5G, Saw also revealed it had tested fixed-wireless solutions.
The CTO explained the economics of mobile broadband are currently “so much better” than those of fixed-wireless solutions. He conceded fixed-wireless could be on the cards in a “5G world when we have more spectral efficiency and potentially new spectrum,” but reported the company currently has no plans for fixed deployments.
Rival Verizon in November announced plans to launch commercial 5G fixed-wireless service in three to five markets in the second half of this year.