The Chief Technology Officer of the American carrier Sprint, Dr. John Saw, emphasized the importance of Massive MIMO antennas in the carrier's 5G deployment. Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennas allow the base station to transmit and receive numerous data streams at the same time, which increases the maximum data speed that the carrier can offer to its customers. Aside from increased speeds, these antennas also help boost the coverage area of a cell site. Coupled with a large amount of spectrum that the network operator already possesses in the 2.5GHz band, the executive noted that Massive MIMO antennas enable the carrier to simultaneously enable both 5G and LTE services on the same spectrum and to fully utilize nearly all its spectrum. Even though the Massive MIMO antennas are deployed as part of the company's 5G network, the technology should also benefit consumers who are still connected to Sprint's LTE network by improving peak data speeds.
The Sprint executive noted that the carrier will install Massive MIMO antennas in thousands of cell sites across the United States. Furthermore, the integrated design of the Massive MIMO setup, which combines both the radio and the antennas into one box, should make it easier for the network operator to install the antennas on cell towers despite its slightly heavier weight. Moreover, Sprint is working with telecommunications equipment providers to develop the software that enables its cell sites to support both LTE and 5G networks simultaneously.
The carrier has previously announced that in 2019, the carrier will launch its 5G service in nine cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington DC. The network operator further stated that the initial deployment of its 5G service will already cover a significant area of the city. On the other hand, other markets across the country should get the carrier's 5G service by 2020. Sprint has also stated that all new Android handsets that the carrier will sell by 2021 will already support 5G. Aside from improved data speeds, 5G networks should also offer reduced latency, which enables the carrier to support new use cases like remote surgery and connected virtual reality headsets.