Sprint demonstrates 5G at soccer tournament in Santa Clara, California
Sprint's demonstration used beam switching which tracks the device being used, selects the best antenna for the task, and sends the signal to a targeted location. The carrier's current LTE Plus service utilizes a similar technology known as beamforming. For now, Sprint will use technology like beamforming to make its network more efficient. Techniques like multiple carrier aggregation will expand the capacity of Sprint's network.
While other carriers have been conducting tests of 5G, including Verizon and AT&T, Sprint is the first U.S. mobile operator to test 5G in front of the public. According to Sprint CTO Dr. John Saw, the 2.5GHz spectrum held by Sprint is considered low-frequency spectrum for 5G, which means that signals should travel farther and penetrate buildings better. Sprint owns more 2.5GHz spectrum than any other U.S. carrier. In fact, Sprint is staying clear of the FCC auction of 600MHz spectrum that T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T are expected to spend billions on.
While Verizon has said that it will have some level of commercial 5G deployment as soon as next year, most don't expect 5G to be offered to consumers until 2020. Data speeds will be 100 times faster than 4G, allowing a full-length film to be downloaded in seconds.