Sprint’s mobile 5G network goes live today in four markets: Atlanta, Dallas-Forth Worth, Houston, and Kansas City. In the coming weeks, Sprint says it will also launch in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington DC. Once those nine markets are lit up, the 5G network should cover around 11.5 million people.
What’s important is the type of 5G network Sprint is launching. Unlike Verizon’s mmW network, for example, Sprint is using mid-band spectrum, combining both 4G LTE and 5G in what’s called dual-connectivity. In doing so, Sprint is able to get 5G out to a broader area and to more people in less time. However, the speeds probably won’t be the same as what you would see from a 5G mmW site.
As Sprint details, “At the foundation of Sprint 5G is Massive MIMO, a breakthrough technology that dramatically improves network capacity. Sprint is using 64T64R (64 transmitters 64 receivers) 5G Massive MIMO radios from Ericsson in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Kansas City. These radios support split-mode, enabling Sprint to simultaneously deliver LTE Advanced and 5G NR service. Sprint’s 5G Massive MIMO radios run on its 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum, and they are deployed on Sprint’s existing 4G cell sites, providing a nearly identical footprint for both 2.5 GHz LTE and 5G NR coverage.”
Sprint’s First 5G Markets
- Atlanta: Sprint 5G covers approximately 150 square miles and 565,000 people from downtown to Dunwoody!
- Dallas-Fort Worth: Sprint 5G covers approximately 575 square miles and 1.6 million people across the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area serving Irving and downtown Fort Worth, including Sundance Square, Las Colinas, and the North Dallas area from Preston Hollow to Addison.
- Houston: Sprint 5G covers approximately 165 square miles and 800,000 people across the cultural center of Houston from downtown to Memorial City Mall/City Centre Plaza.
- Kansas City: Sprint is the first wireless operator to launch 5G in its hometown, with service covering approximately 225 square miles and 625,000 people from downtown Kansas City, MO, to Overland Park, KS where the company is headquartered.
And just because you may be in an area where 5G now exists, that doesn’t mean your phone is going to automatically pull faster download speeds. You need a compatible device. Currently, Sprint is advertising the LG V50 ThinQ (available in retail stores tomorrow), HTC’s 5G Hub, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G (launches this summer).
If you’re on Sprint and live in one of these areas, let us know if you plan on picking up a 5G-capable device. We want to see some speed tests!