Sprint announces the six cities where it will start building out its 5G technology
Earlier this month, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said that Sprint will start offering 5G wireless service sometime during the first half of 2019. The carrier will start building out its 5G pipeline this April by rolling out Massive MIMO technology to six cities. This brings additional capacity to the network as it adds multiple antenna links between the cell tower and compatible phones. Last year at MWC 2017, Sprint and Nokia demonstrated multi-gigabit speeds over LTE by using a Massive MIMO layout consisting of 128 antennas (64 transmit/64 receive).
The three cities that will receive the upgraded wireless technology first are Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. Later this year, Sprint will upgrade service in Atlanta, Houston and Washington, DC. Current MIMO setups include 2 x 2 or 4 x 4, so you can imagine the increase in capacity that will come with the aforementioned 128 antenna array. Once the new equipment is up, Sprint customers in those 6 markets should experience faster data speeds as long as they are using a phone that supports 2.5GHz spectrum (Band 41).
Speaking of devices, Sprint and Qualcomm are working together to make sure that by the first half of 2019, Sprint customers have compatible handsets that will support Sprint's 5G service. Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem, already selected by 18 device manufacturers, will work with the carrier's 2.5GHz airwaves. Sprint owns 160MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum in the top 100 U.S. markets.