May 11, 2017 —
Working with Qualcomm Technologies and SoftBank, Sprint is developing 5G technologies in the 2.5 GHz band, including the 3GPP New Radio (NR) standard.
“Today 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE is one of the largest global wireless ecosystems used by some of the most influential operators in the world such as SoftBank and all of China’s operators, including China Mobile,” John Saw, Sprint CTO, wrote in a blog today.
The agreement includes developing a 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) on the 2.5 GHz spectrum, which Sprint expects to deploy in late 2019.
“As one of the first proponents of 2.5 GHz and TDD-LTE for 4G, we understand the value of building a strong global ecosystem early on. This is why we are working with Qualcomm and SoftBank to develop the 3GPP 5G NR capabilities for 2.5 GHz,” Saw wrote.
Sprint has more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 U.S. markets, more mobile-ready 5G spectrum than any other U.S. carrier.
“Today we’re using this advantage to densify our network with more cell sites and antennas to build a strong foundation for 5G,” Saw wrote. “We are ensuring that Sprint’s deep 2.5 GHz spectrum is an early first-mover in the 5G ecosystem. Not all spectrum bands have this kind of global support and economy of scale.”
Last December, Sprint announced that it had developed technology that will increase 2.5 GHz network coverage by up to 30 percent to nearly match 1.9 GHz spectrum performance, while penetrating buildings at a rate of be 90 percent of what is achieved at 1.9 GHz spectrum.
The carrier demonstrated the advanced technology, known as High Performance User Equipment (HPUE), which a new power class – Power Class 2 – for end-user devices such as smartphones. In development for two years, HPUE was designed to improve the performance of TDD-LTE Band 41 networks, John Saw, wrote in a blog.
“In 2015, we began working on a solution to improve our 2.5 GHz coverage by increasing the uplink coverage of Band 41 devices,” Saw wrote.
Sprint said that its network is ready for the initial rollout of HPUE in its 250 LTE Plus markets. Samsung, one of Sprint’s most important ecosystem partners, is expected to support HPUE in devices slated for commercial launch sometime this year.