Sprint Completes World’s First 5G Data Call Using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO

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Yesterday Sprint (NYSE: S) announced it has reached a significant milestone on its path towards launching mobile 5G service beginning in the first half of this year. Together with Nokia and Qualcomm, the companies this week completed the world’s first over-the-air 5G data transmission using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO on Sprint’s live commercial network.

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. It leveraged 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 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,” said Dr. John Saw, Sprint’s Chief Technology Officer. “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.”

“Nokia is pleased to work on another 5G first with Sprint and Qualcomm,” said Mike Murphy, Chief Technology Officer 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.”

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.

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January 11, 2019

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