Sprint Completes 5G Data Call using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO on Commercial Network with Nokia and Qualcomm

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Sprint Completes 5G Data Call using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO on Commercial Network with Nokia and Qualcomm Image Credit: Sprint

Sprint claims completion of the world’s first over-the-air 5G data transmission using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO on Sprint’s live commercial network, together with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies.

The field test, conducted on Sprint’s commercial network in San Diego, used global 5G standards on a commercial 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) network with Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum, Nokia’s dual-mode AirScale Massive MIMO radio, and a mobile smartphone form-factor test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements.

The test demonstrated a seamless transition of connectivity between Sprint’s 4G LTE Advanced and 5G network, while streaming YouTube videos, conducting Skype audio and video calls, and sending and receiving Instant Messages.

This week’s successful test at a commercial Sprint cell site follows earlier 5G milestones by the company. In December, Sprint completed its first 5G NR data transmissions inside its lab in Reston, Va., using its 2.5 GHz spectrum, Massive MIMO radios from both Nokia and Ericsson, and a mobile smartphone form-factor test device from Qualcomm Technologies.

Sprint said it is executing its 5G strategy with 2.5 GHz spectrum and Massive MIMO technology to launch its blazing-fast service beginning in nine top cities in the first half of 2019. They include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. From the start, the company is designing mobile 5G footprints covering these downtown metros. Using its super-fast, mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum, Sprint plans to offer contiguous coverage in the downtown area of these cities for its highly mobile, on-the-go customers. 

Sprint’s 5G build out is well under way with hundreds of Massive MIMO radios deployed last year. 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 support split-mode, enabling the company to offer LTE and 5G simultaneously on the same radio. Initial results from early deployments show Massive MIMO is driving a 4X average increase in capacity and speed with peak increases up to 10X over LTE. 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.

Dr. John Saw, CTO, Sprint
This is a big step forward – Sprint 5G is now out of the lab and in the field as we prepare for our commercial launch in the first half of this year. We’re making great progress towards giving Sprint customers the first mobile 5G experience in nine top cities with the first 5G smartphone in the U.S.

Mike Murphy, CTO for North America, Nokia
By using 2.5 GHz for 5G, existing sites nationwide can be re-used, with indoor coverage as well. This first standards-based call is thus a critical step towards Sprint’s offering of a 5G service to its customers.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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