Published: Thu, February 28, 2019
Tech | By Constance Martin

Sprint’s 5G wireless launch, planned for May, could be the country’s first

Sprint’s 5G wireless launch, planned for May, could be the country’s first

The impending launch could make Sprint the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer a mass-market 5G service for smartphones in a global race to provide faster download speeds and support for new applications such as self-driving cars. The four lucky cities are Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and Kansas City. In first half of the year, the carrier expects to bring 5G service to Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC.

Sprint announced Monday that it will launch commercial 5G services beginning in May.

Sprint will be relying on "massive MIMO" to boost data speeds, and its 5G network will function a little differently to rivals'.

When questioned about how Sprint might price 5G when it launches the offering in May, CEO Michel Combes dodged the question and said instead that the operator would release additional details later this spring. The trouble is that T-Mobile is mostly using the 600MHz band for its 5G so the areas where the Galaxy S10 5G would work on T-Mobile's 5G network will be extremely limited.

The announcement also comes as Sprint advocates for its proposed merger with T-Mobile.

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Sprint's first 5G-compatible smartphone from LG Electronics was also introduced at MWC. Verizon has vowed to deploy 5G to wireless customers in as many as 30 cities by the end of the year.

Really, the thing that's most clear is that we should all probably not bother thinking about jumping on 5G until next year at the earliest and even that will depend on where you live. In comparison, Verizon promises at least 300Mbit/s on its 5G Home fixed wireless service, with top speeds of 1Gbit/s, while AT&T recently said it clocked top speeds of 1.5Gbit/s on its own mobile 5G millimeter-wave network.

Sprint said that the NY launch will have coverage ranging from almost "30 square miles covering Midtown and lower Manhattan", while the Dallas Launch will cover "approximately 230 square miles spanning the greater Dallas, Fort Worth area". The company also announced a number of other updates to its Curiosity IoT platform for mapping, roaming and other services. Ray said the company had hoped to have a device sooner but it hasn't worked out.

The 5G game is afoot!

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