Sprint’s 5G-driven Curiosity IoT will form the basis for future connected technologies in the city of Greenville, South Carolina, according to an announcement made in conjunction with this year’s CES 2019 event in Las Vegas. The agreement between the carrier and officials of the municipality places Sprint in a support role in plans to turn Greenville into a smart city. Sprint hasn’t offered any timeline details for now but says that it will install Massive MIMO, dedicated IoT networking, and similar technologies. The goal is to provide a solid underlying infrastructure and ecosystem enabling smart vehicles, autonomous drones, and any other connected technology to operate, navigate, and react to their surroundings in real time. That will start in an unspecified area of the city, designated specifically for that purpose. Eventually, the buildout might spread but the initial purpose is to position Greenville in a position to draw in digital startups as well as research and development projects. That includes experts working in smart city technologies but also autonomous, robotics, and AI tech innovators.
A complete 5G package
Sprint has a distinct advantage in terms of 5G mobile and IoT networking thanks to its substantial license holdings in the vital 2.5GHz range of the spectrum. That’s something the company has obviously taken advantage of over the past several months, beginning with the announcement and launch of a digital online marketplace for ready-made out-of-the-box solutions called The Sprint IoT Factory back in May. The platform is intended to provide even small or medium-sized businesses access to asset tracking, performance analysis, and automation. Summarily, it offers the same types of technologies used by large, enterprise-level corporations to businesses that might not have access to those otherwise. While that isn’t exactly the same as rolling out a 5G network built specifically for IoT tech, that already included over 550,000 developers marketing via the platform at launch — showing a deep commitment to IoT from the mobile provider.
Coupled with its bid to upgrade all of its current towers to offer both 5G and 4G LTE in support of the expected upcoming wave of next-generation-enabled smartphones, all of Sprint’s progress here already represents a significant step forward. Curiosity IoT builds on that progress further, rounding out Sprint’s 5G package to include not only a platform for solutions based on the technology and smartphone-related additions but also an IoT network specifically for those types of solutions to operate on.
Building a 5G reputation
Greenville presents unique opportunities for the company to prove its prowess in the emergent ecosystem. The city is currently the fourth fastest growing municipality in the US and is embracing an interconnected city to help manage the implications of that growth. If Sprint’s Curiosity IoT infrastructure and network are put in place without any hitches, that could go a long way toward securing its reputation as a 5G provider following a long period of less-than-stellar expectations from analysts. Even in the eventuality that the company’s ongoing merger attempt with T-Mobile falls apart, that could be enough to help the nation’s fourth-largest carrier to gain a rock-solid foothold and secure a position as a top provider of 5G and IoT solutions.