Sprint, which holds sub-6 GHz spectrum, has announced that the 2.5 GHz spectrum band is included in the Non-Standalone 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) specification (initial part of Release 15) ratified at the 3GPP TSG RAN plenary meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.
The specification includes bandwidths up to 100 MHz for an n41 (2.5 GHz) single component carrier versus today’s 20 MHz per component carrier for 4G LTE. With more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum available in the top 100 U.S. markets, this gives Sprint the largest nationwide block of sub-6 GHz 5G spectrum available for wide-scale use in the U.S.
Sprint is working with Qualcomm Technologies and SoftBank to develop technologies for wide-scale 5G mobile deployment in late 2019.
“This is an important milestone and we’re making great progress accelerating the development and commercialization of 5G NR in the 2.5 GHz band,” said Dr. John Saw of Sprint. “We see great opportunity in mobile 5G, massive machine-type communications, and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications.”
In addition, Sprint is working with its RAN (Radio Access Network) suppliers – Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung – for end-to-end availability of 5G NR in Sprint’s 2.5 GHz (n41) spectrum.
Sprint’s initial path to market for 5G will be through the deployment of 2.5 GHz Massive MIMO radios slated for commercial use in 2018. These 64T64R (64 transmitters, 64 receivers) radios will be software-upgradable to 5G NR.