Sprint Chief Technology Officer John Saw on Wednesday delivered a quarterly update on the company's efforts in the wireless infrastructure segment, boasting of major improvements across the board, in addition to promising that the telecom giant will launch a "beautifully designed 5G phone" in the first half of the next year. While no more details on the matter have been provided, Sprint's former Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure already revealed that the device in question will be designed and manufactured by a "leading Korean company" earlier this year, with the most obvious candidate based on that wording being Samsung. LG is the only other option that could possibly fall under the same description, even though Samsung's rival hasn't been "leading" the mobile segment in any manner in a while now, but the maker of G and V-series flagships has yet to even publicly commit to embracing 5G in the near future, whereas Samsung has been heavily involved in the research and development phase of the next-generation of connectivity and already delivered a number of working 5G prototype devices, both smartphones and tablets.
Mr. Saw also revealed that Sprint's 2.5GHz spectrum holdings are now supported by two-thirds of its macro cell sites in the United States, whereas thousands of those stations were also upgraded to make the most of Sprit's 800MHz and 1.9GHz bands, the industry veteran said. The Overland Park, Kansas-based company also continued its small cell push over the three-month period ending June 30, deploying some 7,000 strand-mounted small cells on cable infrastructure. The hardware in question exclusively leverages the 2.5GHz band and while it was primarily deployed to densify Sprint's network, it may also prove to be important for the company's eventual 5G push.
Sprint's 5G equation is presently largely dependent on its attempted merger with T-Mobile being approved, with the two companies arguing they cannot adequately compete with Verizon and AT&T's next-generation networks without combining their operations. The FCC is presently looking into the consolidation attempt that industry analysts are giving a 50-50 chance of going through.