Sprint launched its 5G network today, with a big presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But Dallas-Fort Worth was not the only area to get 5G from Spring today. Atlanta, Houston and Kansas City also got 5G. Bringing the number of markets up to four for Sprint, meanwhile Verizon has only two.
Verizon was touting that it was "first to 5G", but Sprint has already eclipsed its coverage map.
In Atlanta, Sprint's 5G network covers about 150 square miles, from downtown to Dunwoody. In Dallas-Fort Worth, there's about 575 square miles and around 1.6 million people covered. This is serving Irving and downtown Fort Worth, including Sundance Square, Las Colinas and the North Dallas area from Preston Hollow to Addison. In Houston, Sprint has about 165 square miles covered, from the cultural center in downtown Houston to Memorial City Mall.
Sprint, of course had to launch 5G in its hometown of Kansas City. Where it has covered around 225 square miles, from downtown Kansas City, Missouri to Overland Park, Kansas – where Sprint's headquarters is.
This 5G network from Sprint is a "mobile" network. Which means that is not fixed – which is how Verizon's 5G network started out. It's also using mid-band spectrum, and combining 4G LTE and 5G, instead of using millimeter-wave. This is better, since mmW won't be used in the next couple of years, and it also costs billions more to deploy.
With Sprint using mid-band spectrum instead of mmW, it is able to roll out 5G to a broader area, and cover more people in less time. Let's take the Dallas-Fort Worth area for example. Sprint has over 575 square miles covered. Verizon, meanwhile, in Chicago and Minneapolis, have not even covered the entire city. With some streets not having 5G connectivity because it is using mmW.
Sprint notes that it is using Massive MIMO to build this network. Which the carrier says is a "breakthrough technology that dramatically improves network capacity." It is using 64T64R 5G Massive MIMO radios from Ericsson in these markets. Which help to provide more bandwidth, and the dual-connectivity that Sprint is using.
Your current smartphone is not going to be compatible with 5G, which means that anyone on Sprint in these four markets, aren't going to see these faster speeds yet. Sprint's first 5G smartphone goes on sale tomorrow, the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. While the HTC 5G Hub and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will go on sale later this summer. After the summer, there will be plenty of other 5G devices hitting the market, but this is just the first round, so the pickings are pretty slim. Battery life will also be pretty mediocre on these early 5G smartphones, due to the tech being so new, and also them using two modems – one for 4G LTE and one for 5G.
While, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Kansas City all have Sprint 5G already, there are more cities coming in the next few weeks. This includes Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, DC. That will bring Sprint to nine 5G markets, and covering 11.5 million people with this new ultra-fast network.