Qualcomm, Sprint and SoftBank have all announced a recent collaboration between the three companies for using Sprint's existing 2.5GHz spectrum in their future 5G network, which is expected to begin rolling out in 2019. This announcement comes just a few months after Qualcomm and Sprint announced and showcased Gigabit LTE. Sprint has been pretty quiet on the 5G front until recently. The company is planning to use their existing spectrum for their 5G network, and making good use of the 2.5GHz spectrum they picked up in their acquisition of Clear Wireless a few years ago.
The press release put out by Sprint on this occasion was short and simple. There's not much to announce here just yet, but just the fact that they are working with Qualcomm to develop technologies for 5G. And this includes the 3GPP New Radio standard for Band 41. Which is going to be used for accelerated wide-scale 5G developments. They also mentioned that additional details will be provided a bit further down the road. But they are planning to roll this out around late 2019, which is still over 2 years away.
Qualcomm typically works with carriers like Sprint, in deploying new wireless technology because they build the modems that are inside all of our smartphones, that work on these networks. Qualcomm's X12 LTE modem is one of the first to be able to handle Gigabit LTE, in which Qualcomm had a team working closely with Sprint's network team to bring Gigabit LTE into reality. Currently that is only launched in New Orleans, and not available on any of their available devices, but it's the beginning for them. Sprint is going to be using Gigabit LTE as a stepping-stone to 5G, which is still quite a few years away, despite AT&T promoting their 4G LTE standards and technologies as a 5G network (they did something similar in the 3G era). SoftBank was thrown in the mix because they own Sprint, but they aren't doing much here, besides helping Sprint financially. In recent months, SoftBank has been looking to get away from helping Sprint as much, and allowing them to do their own thing.