Sprint still plans to launch a 5G network in 2019, and the company is moving toward building a next-generation network by announcing the first six cities where it plans to deploy Massive MIMO antenna technology: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles. Angeles and Washington, DC.
Now, Massive MIMO is not necessarily 5G in itself, but it is an important step to reach higher speeds, especially in the lower areas of the cellular spectrum. The current MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology uses 2X2 (where two antennas are used to send and receive data) or 4X4 matrices (four antennas). Massive MIMO uses much more: there are a total of 128 antennas in Sprint arrays, with 64 for transmission and 64 for reception, which should allow faster speeds.
Massive MIMO is not necessarily 5G in itself, but it is an important step to reach higher speeds
According to Sprint, its Massive MIMO sites will be able to offer up to 10 times the capacity of current LTE systems, although obviously customers will have to see how things move in the real world once Sprint starts deploying the new one. Towers The new antennas should facilitate the deployment of LTE and 5G gigabit speed networks, and the arrays offer the possibility of upgrading to 5G through software updates once Sprint really launches the network. In addition, Massive MIMO antennas will be able to support split mode service, allowing Sprint to continue to offer both 4G LTE and 5G on the same radio once 5G is launched.
Sprint still plans to launch its 5G network in 2.5 GHz (band 41) of spectrum, and is actively working with Qualcomm (its Snapdragon X50 5G modem will support the 5G NR standard in the Sprint 2.5 GHz band) and device manufacturers will release 5G phones in the first half of 2019 together with the network.
Of the six cities, Sprint is rolling out the new Massive MIMO antennas first in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, with Atlanta, Houston and Washington, DC ready to start receiving the new radios later this year.