CEO details Sprint 5G plans, upcoming trial
Sprint 5G efforts supported by Nokia and Ericsson
As carriers and vendors around the world race to trial “5G” technologies ahead of standardization, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, during a call this week with investors, detailed the carrier’s 5G trial.
Sprint has extensive spectrum holdings in the 2.5 GHz band, which Claure said would be viewed as “the low band spectrum of 5G. Our densification and optimization plan is also building the foundation for 5G.”
Densification and access to new, high-capacity spectrum in largely untapped bands are considered to be foundational elements of an ultimate 5G standard. The vision is ultra high-speed data throughput speeds and very low latency to support futuristic technologies like autonomous driving, and streaming of high definition and virtual reality content.
“We [will] leverage the Copa America soccer tournament to demonstrate the 5G capabilities using millimetric band radius to deliver 4K streaming of soccer content at two Copa America stadiums in June working with both Nokia and Ericsson,” Claure said. “Looking at how we build that future … we’re focused on optimizing both the performance of the network as well of the cost to build and operate the network. Working with SoftBank, we’re expanding the many tools in the toolbox today for maximizing network performance as well as the efficiency of capital and operating costs. With these tools, the cost to build and operate the densification site are expected to be materially less than our macro site build in the past. Everything we do is focused on putting more spectrum assets to work for our customer at the lowest possible cost. We’re leveraging all forms of site structures, including existing public infrastructure, in order to densify our network and provide more capacity than any other wireless carrier in the U.S.”
The Copa America tournament, being hosted outside of South America for the first time ever, will see 16 teams compete in 32 matches from June 3 to June 26. Matches are scheduled to be held in Santa Clara and Pasadena, California, Orlando, Florida; Seattle; Chicago; Glendale, Arizona; Philadelphia; Foxborough, Massachusetts; Houston; and East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo, during a Q1 earnings call, discussed the carrier’s ambitious plans for commercializing 5G network technology.
“We are committed to being the first U.S. company to rollout 5G wireless technology,” Shammo said, noting the company is currently engaged testing at “sandboxes” and “innovation centers.” In February, Verizon and Nokia tested an “extreme broadband” use case to look at the viability of replacing high-speed, indoor wireline connections with wireless, examining outdoor-to-indoor penetration in a residential apartment. The two companies also tested a 5G latency use case.
T-Mobile US, also in February, announced plans with Ericsson and Nokia Networks to begin trialling technology later this year. The partnerships will see both vendors work with T-Mobile US in developing a pre-standards 5G test system for lab and field trials, with actual trials set to begin later this year.
AT&T has also announced a roadmap for research, development and ultimate commercialization of next-generation 5G mobile networks in partnership with Ericsson and Intel. The U.S.-based mobile network operator pointed to millimeter wave, software-defined networks and network functions virtualization as key enablers of 5G, which has yet to be standardized by international technical bodies.
John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president for AT&T Technology and Operations, said the new network type would enable advanced applications like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more.