Sprint successfully tests 5G data transmission using its 2.5GHz spectrum

Sprint announced today that it completed the first 5G data transmission using its high-frequency 2.5GHz spectrum. In partnership with Nokia and Qualcomm, the carrier used Nokia’s dual-mode AirScale Massive MIMO radio during the test. This technology uses 64 transmitters and receivers placed in a cell tower that send and receive signals to and from multiple handsets. As a comparison, 4 X 4 MIMO is used on LTE-A networks like AT&T's (ahem) 5G Evolution. For more on Massive MIMO, click on the video at the top of this article.

Sprint ran the 5G data transmission over its commercial network in San Diego using global 5G standards on a commercial 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) network. The test was conducted using a device that had a smartphone form factor and contained Qualcomm's 5G X50 modem chip. During the test, Sprint was able to seamlessly transition from its 4G LTE-Advanced network to 5G while streaming YouTube Videos, exchanging Instant Messages and making Skype audio and video calls.

Earlier this week, Sprint's proposed merger partner T-Mobile successfully made a 5G video and data call over its commercial network. T-Mobile used its low-band 600MHz spectrum, which travels farther and penetrates buildings better than the high-frequency airwaves used by Sprint.

Sprint expects to launch its 5G service during the first half of this year. The carrier says that it will offer the first 5G phone in the U.S., a "distinct, beautiful shiny object" from LG.

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