Sprint on Thursday vowed to continue major 5G investments in 2018 and reiterated its commitment to deploying commercial 5G networks in late 2019. The company's short-term wireless plan involves nationwide deployments of 256 QAM and 4X4 MIMO technologies over the course of the next 12 months, both of which are meant to work in conjunction with its presently available three-channel carrier aggregation and form an even stronger basis for delivering Gigabit Class LTE mobile service going forward. The Overland Park, Kansas-based wireless carrier also repeated its ambition to continue collaborating with tech giants like Qualcomm on the deployment of the fifth generation of mobile networks, naming its parent SoftBank as another important partner in that endeavor.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) announced a major 5G milestone just yesterday, confirming the completion of the first 5G New Radio (NR) standard that will be used for large-scale trials and initial deployments. Qualcomm and other industry leaders remain committed to major trials in 2018 with the goal of starting commercial deployment in early 2019. 5G networks should be available to consumers on a national level by 2020, according to latest estimates. Sprint's 2.5Ghz spectrum band is part of the Non-Standalone 5G NR specification detailed on Wednesday, with the telecom firm hence having access to the largest national block of such sub-6GHz spectrum in the country.
Sprint Chief Technology Officer John Saw boasted about the wireless carrier's 2017 achievements earlier today, noting how the company managed to increase the speed of its nationwide network by 65 percent on an annual basis, as estimated by Ookla Speedtest Intelligence. The Sprint Magic Box was also highlighted as one of Sprint's biggest accomplishments in 2017, being the first all-wireless small cell station in the world. The mobile service provider vowed to continue pursuing innovation in the small cell segment going forward and promised more news on that front will follow in the coming months. Sprint has been showing some signs of recovering its struggling business in recent times yet 2017 has still been a mixed year for the company, primarily due to its failure to successfully negotiate a merger with Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile, thus missing out on what some industry analysts believe are $50 billion in synergies.