We've already heard that Verizon and AT&T are running trials of 5G this year, and Verizon has even gone as far as saying they'll have a few key markets launching before the year is out. T-Mobile has said that they are going to sit back a bit and wait for the actual standards to be decided on for 5G, before they commit to anything but are starting field tests later this year. Sprint has been quiet. That was until their Q4 2015 earnings this past Tuesday. The company's CEO, Marcelo Claure said that they would be doing trials of 5G at the Copa America Soccer event next month. Claure also mentioned that his company is working with Nokia and Ericsson to demonstrate the capabilities of 5G.
The Centennial Copa America is a soccer tournament that runs from June 3rd through the 26th and is taking place at 10 different stadiums around the country. These include Chicago; Houston; Philadelphia; Glendale, AZ; Pasadena and Santa Clara, CA; Seattle; Orlando; East Rutherford, NJ; and Foxborough, MA. Sprint didn't announce which two stadiums they will run these tests at, but did note that they will be demonstrating 5G at two stadiums during the tournament.
Standards for 5G aren't slated to be finalized until around 2019 – with part one being done in mid-2018 and part two in 2019. But that's not stopping the carriers from getting started on 5G. Sprint's CEO stated that they are "participating in the development of the global 5G standard, and we're collaborating with our partners and other companies on the 5G opportunity." Claure also talked about how his team views their 2.5GHz spectrum as being "at the low band spectrum of 5G" and that Sprint is currently in a good position for 5G considering the fact that they have 160MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum in most of the top 100 markets in the US. He also noted that they have more high-band capacity than any of the other wireless carriers in the US.
This comes at a time where Sprint is continuing to improve their current 4G LTE network and expand their LTE Plus network to more and more markets. But also cutting spending on their network. However, Sprint does need to keep up with their competitors, and the majority of them are planning to run 5G field tests before the end of the year.