With 2.5GHz now officially on the list of 3GPP-approved 5G bands, Sprint on Thursday (21 December) reaffirmed its goal of deploying mobile 5G by late 2019.
Sprint declared mobile 5G to be its priority and said it is working with parent SoftBank and Qualcomm Technologies to develop technologies for wide-scale deployments. As it first mentioned in May, the operator expects to launch both commercial services and devices in late 2019.
In September, Sprint revealed its initial plan to launch 5G includes the deployment of 64×64 massive MIMO on its 2.5GHz spectrum in 2018. These radios will be software-upgradeable to 5G New Radio (NR), it explained.
The newly released 5G NR specification allows for bandwidths of up to 100MHz for a single 2.5GHz channel, increasing the size of individual LTE channels by a factor of five. And with 160MHz of 2.5GHz airwaves in the top 100 US markets, Sprint holds the ability to take full advantage of the increase in bandwidth.
“This is an important milestone and we’re making great progress accelerating the development and commercialisation of 5G NR in the 2.5GHz band,” Sprint CTO John Saw said in a statement.
Sprint isn’t the only US operator with its eye on mobile 5G. T-Mobile US previously announced it is pushing toward a nationwide mobile 5G rollout by 2020, and AT&T detailed a goal to roll out standards-based 5G next year includes mobile applications. With the non-standalone specifications now in place, AT&T’s SVP of technology planning and engineering Marachel Knight said in a blog post “operators will be able to provide mobile 5G service sooner to customers.”
“We’re moving fast. And standards are the foundation. We’re confident this latest standards milestone will allow us to bring 5G to market faster without compromising its long-term vision.”