Just this week in the capital city of Portugal, members of the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) had ratified the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) specification, marking the completion of the first ever implementable 5G NR standard. In line with this latest development, major US wireless carrier Sprint has revealed today that its 2.5 GigaHertz spectrum band is included in the newly formalized NSA 5G NR spec.
Technically speaking, the NSA 5G NR spec includes up to 100 MegaHertz for an n41 (2.5 GigaHertz) single component carrier, as compared to the 20 MegaHertz for every component carrier for most of today’s 4G LTE networks. Sprint happens to hold over 160 MegaHertz of 2.5 GigaHertz spectrum available in the top 100 markets in the United States. Because of this, the national mobile operator (read our 2017 review of the provider here) has the biggest countrywide block of sub 6 GigaHertz 5G spectrum that can be used for wide commercial deployment all throughout America.
The company is also looking to put most of its attention on offering mobile 5G capabilities. As a matter of fact, Sprint is currently joining forces with chip maker giant Qualcomm, as well as the carrier’s parent company, SoftBank, in order to continue to explore new tech related to the effective delivery of 5G, not only to end users but also to businesses and enterprises. On top of that, the carrier is also teaming up with a number of its Radio Access Network (RAN) suppliers, namely Samsung, Nokia, and Ericsson, in order to achieve end to end availability of 5G NR by way of Sprint’s 2.5 n41 (2.5 GigaHertz) spectrum band.
Sprint is targeting to start debuting its 5G offering, as well as 5G compatible mobile devices, around a couple of years from now. The road getting there will be a long one, and the mobile operator is planning to leverage its 2.5 GigaHertz Massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) radios, which should be made available commercially beginning next year. One cool advantage of these 64T64R (64 transmitters, 64 receivers) radios is that they can be upgraded to 5G NR by means of software updates.
Apart from Sprint, other names in tech that have expressed their support for the ratification of the NSA 5G NR standard include AT&T, BT, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, KT Corporation, LG Electronics, LG Uplus, MediaTek Inc., NEC Corporation, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, Sony Mobile Communications Inc., TIM, Telefonica, Telia Company, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, and ZTE.
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