& cplSiteName &

Sprint Plans 2.5GHz-Based 5G Launch in 2019

Iain Morris

US mobile operator Sprint appears to be eyeing a launch of 5G services based on 2.5GHz spectrum in the second half of 2019.

Earlier today the operator revealed that it has been collaborating with Japanese owner SoftBank Corp. and US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) on the development of 2.5GHz-based 5G technologies, and that commercial services and devices could arrive in the market in late 2019.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) already holds 2.5GHz licenses and told reporters at this year's Mobile World Congress in February that it was interested in using the spectrum to provide 5G services. (See Sprint Gets Ready for Massive MIMO, Eyes 2.5GHz for 5G.)

Since then, the 3GPP has approved plans to speed up the development of 5G new radio specifications, meaning the first commercial services could feasibly enter the market in 2019 rather than the previously expected date of 2020. (See 3GPP Approves Plans to Fast Track 5G NR.)

The Sprint announcement comes shortly after rival T-Mobile US Inc. said it would build a nationwide 5G network by 2020 using spectrum in the 600MHz and other frequency bands. (See T-Mobile's 2020 Plan Piles Pressure on Europe's 5G Players, Is T-Mobile's 5G Plan Just a Pipe Dream? and T-Mobile Promises 'Nationwide' 5G in 2020 With New Spectrum.)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), the country's two biggest mobile operators, are also aiming for early rollouts of 5G technology based on much higher frequency bands, including the 28GHz range that is also the focus of much 5G attention in Japan and South Korea.

Signals travel further in lower spectrum bands than in higher ranges, meaning these airwaves are much better for covering large geographical areas.

The very high bands, by contrast, can deliver much faster services -- simply because more spectrum is available -- but do a relatively poor job on coverage.

That means the cost of building a nationwide US network based on 28GHz spectrum could be as much as $300 billion, compared with about $25 billion for a 600MHz-based system, according to operators and analysts that have spoken with Light Reading. (See The Growing Pains of 5G and T-Mobile 5G Plan Could Drive Capex to Record Highs.)

Sprint's 2.5GHz holdings are perhaps best categorized as "mid-band" frequencies that fall somewhere between the spectrum extremes in terms of their capabilities.

In their statement on the latest 5G collaboration, SoftBank and Sprint flagged interest in using 2.5GHz spectrum for "accelerated wide-scale 5G deployments."

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
Light Reading.

Despite the focus on very high frequency bands in the US and parts of Asia, operators in Europe are looking at using mid-band 3.5GHz spectrum to provide 5G services.

T-Mobile's 600MHz plans could also give a boost to the low-band 5G scenario, with European telcos now thinking of using 700MHz spectrum to support 5G service offerings, according to Heavy Reading Principal Analyst Gabriel Brown.

But the plethora of 5G frequency bands could impede the development of devices and services that can be used around the world, prompting concern about spectrum fragmentation.

Such fragmentation has already bedeviled the rollout of 4G services, which are delivered over a multitude of spectrum bands in different regions of the world.

News of the SoftBank-led 5G collaboration came on the same day the Japanese operator reported a trebling of its net income for 2016, to 1.43 trillion Japanese yen ($12.6 billion), on flat revenues of JPY8.9 trillion ($78.3 billion).

Profits were boosted by asset sales last year as SoftBank worked on reducing net debts, which currently equal about three times the company's annual earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization).

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Blogger
5/10/2017 | 3:31:35 PM
Remember that 2.5GHz is a "sub6" 5G candidate band now
Last week, CTO John Saw said that 2.5GHz is a sub-6GHz 5G candidate band now:

"Sprint CTO John Saw said -- on a separate call later -- that the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has now added Sprint's 2.5GHz band as a candidate for the "sub-6[GHz] 5G band."

See: http://www.lightreading.com/mobile/small-cells/son-and-sprint-talk-mergers-trump-and-5g/d/d-id/732490
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment

It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments

Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments

A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment

Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment

In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments

AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment

Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment

At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments

When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments

Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments

Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Orchestration Startup UBiqube Pivots Away From NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/15/2017
Verizon Video Woes Pile On
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/14/2017
WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/18/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.