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Sprint’s 2.5GHz Spectrum Really is that Great

June 18, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

We’ve heard for years, from Sprint, that their 2.5GHz spectrum is amazing. Even dating back to when it was ClearWire’s spectrum, which Sprint eventually purchased 100% of ClearWire after SoftBank took over. The 2500MHz spectrum can walk the walk, but so far it hasn’t done so. Sprint has been using the 2500MHz spectrum in their Sprint Spark network, which combines with their 1900MHz and 800MHz spectrum. Ideally it should give users fantastic speeds paired with great coverage inside thanks to the 800MHz spectrum that they can finally use after buying Nextel so long ago.

One of the bigger advantages of Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum is the amount of bandwidth it can hold. While lower band spectrum has better coverage areas, because it can send a signal further, the higher spectrum has more room for bandwidth. So ideally pairing their 800MHz and 2500MHz spectrum should put together a network on steroids. Which we know as Sprint Spark.

There’s also the speed. ClearWire was talking up the speed of the 2.5GHz spectrum back in 2012. And saying it could hit a peak of 168Mbps downlink. Obviously we’d never see that speed, but so far we haven’t seen anywhere near that. With most of the faster speed tests we’ve seen coming out of Sprint hitting around 50-60Mbps. Still nothing to sneeze at, but we always want more.

Recently, there has been talk in the industry that Sprint would lease out their 2.5GHz spectrum to other carriers. Many analysts thought Sprint would do this because they are hurting for money. However, since Claure took over, they have started to make a profit again, although not much. Sprint is still dedicated to rolling out that 2.5GHz band for everyone to be able to take advantage of it. And it will put Sprint in the front of the pack for the next stage of LTE, which is LTE-A, even though AT&T has already started rolling that out in some parts of the country.

The 2.5GHz spectrum is pretty interesting. It can hold a whole lot of data, but it’s in-building penetration isn’t all that great. It will be interesting to see what Sprint does with it in the near future. After all, Sprint’s CEO, Marcelo Claure did say that in two years his network would be #1 in the larger areas – meaning not in the woods and sticks.