Sprint: 5G in the US After 2020?

Sprint expects initial 5G deployments will happen in the US after 2020, the operator says in a presentation to 3GPP.

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

October 16, 2015

2 Min Read
Sprint: 5G in the US After 2020?

US mobile operator Sprint isn't expecting service providers in the States to be at the forefront of deploying new 5G mobile networks at the beginning of the next decade.

The operator is expecting to see 5G "in [the] US after 2020," Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s Senior Research Scientist Scott Migaldi notes in a presentation put before a 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) this September.

Migaldi is expecting initial 5G commercial launches "early to mid-2020." At this point in time, it appears that Asian operators NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) and SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) will be amongst the first service providers to deploy 5G. (See DoCoMo & EE Share 5G Visions and Q&A: SK Telecom Talks All Things 5G.)

The 3GPP is starting to define the specifications for fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks now. Migaldi expects "global proof of concepts from Asia" in 2018.

At its highest level, 5G will be tens of times faster than current 4G networks, and possibly even faster, allowing users to download an HD movie to a compatible future 5G smartphone in mere seconds. In practice, this will mean using new radio frequencies, antenna designs, artificial intelligence (AI) alogorithms and much more. (See Ericsson CTO: Artificial Intelligence Will Make 5G Smarter.)

For more on 5G, visit the dedicated 5G section here on Light Reading.

Concerns about the US losing its perceived 4G "lead" with the move to 5G were raised by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler at the beginning of this month. The FCC is expected to move ahead with rule-making on 5G usage on spectrum at 24GHz and above this month. (See FCC Chair Wants to Take 5G Higher.)

Of course, not every US operator takes the post-2020 viewpoint. Verizon Wireless has set an aggresive timetable to start field testing 5G in 2016, with an eye to some limited commercial deployments the year after! This would be an extremely ambitious deadline, however, as prototype systems with revamped 5G air interfaces aren't expected before 2018. (See Is This the 5G You're Looking For?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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