Sprint, in partnership with Ericsson, will be at the upcoming Mobile World Congress trade show to demonstrate a jointly developed breakthrough in LTE TDD technology that brings gigabit-class speeds on Sprint's existing spectrum, specifically a 60 megahertz block within Sprint's holdings in the 2.5 gigahertz area. The technology takes advantage of Sprint's massive holdings in this block, and will be using far more than 60 megahertz to push gigabit LTE TDD to many of Sprint's current markets, once it rolls out. This demonstration will be the wireless industry's very first showing of gigabit-class speeds over LTE TDD in any frequency. The magic will be happening at Ericsson's booth, which will be in Hall 2 of Fira Gran Via between February 27 and March 2.
Sprint's impressive holdings in the 2.5 gigahertz spectrum block include about 160 megahertz through a number of major markets, and many of those markets have three-channel carrier aggregation enabled, among other key LTE features. Their joint demonstration with Ericsson uses technologies and features on Ericsson's side that have not hit a number of markets that Sprint serves just yet, such as 256QAM and 4×4 MIMO. Ericsson has also added in a number of their own features to provide a bit more oomph to the proceedings, such as their own Lean Carrier solution. Ericsson has a presence in a number of major worldwide LTE markets like Japan and the United States, and will be partnering up with Sprint on a wider scale following this demonstration.
Sprint CTO John Saw expressed his excitement about the number of use cases that this technology will open up for Sprint users, such as 4K and 8K content and premium virtual reality. If Sprint and Ericsson's demonstration goes as planned, they will not be the first carrier to demonstrate gigabit speeds over LTE, but they will not be the last, either; T-Mobile is currently working on rolling out LTE-U, which they claim could bring speeds up to the gigabit mark, but Verizon and AT&T are more focused on their 5G rollouts. This could present a stiff dichotomy in the carrier landscape between now and when 5G goes mainstream, between carriers beginning to roll out commercial 5G based on early standards, and carriers with gigabit-plus LTE available while customers wait for proper 5G.