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

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Susan Fourtané 10/22/2015 | 9:57:28 AM
Re: 5G in name only? Phil, 

How super funny. :D I believe your daughter is right. In fact, that would make a great cartoon. :D 

Phil_Britt 10/22/2015 | 9:51:06 AM
Re: 5G in name only? Susan,

Of course you are right that new technology doesn't always work in a conference/demo setting, though companies usually make sure that they can minimize the glitches that occur in non-controlled environments.

The best example of tech not working in a conference environment was in late 1990s in Chicago, when you couldn't get a wireless signal at a wireless conference at McCormick Place. I don't remember who the conference organizer was, but in my daughter's language, it was an "epic fail."


Susan Fourtané 10/22/2015 | 6:42:39 AM
Re: 5G in name only? Phil, 

That's true, technology not always works in conference environments. However, glitches can happen in any environment including tech events. Because, why not? 

DanJones 10/21/2015 | 1:11:46 PM
Re: 5G in name only? Don't forget that plenty of carriers are already pushing for a two-phased approach to 5G. So the question of what exactly 5G will be is still moot!
DanJones 10/21/2015 | 12:41:43 PM
Re: 5G in name only? Yeah that sounds about right!
sineira 10/20/2015 | 2:19:32 PM
Re: 5G in name only? Most definitely Dan, we'll see an evolution towards 5G, same as always.
Not that anybody can clearly say what 5G is yet since it's meant to be a collection of sub standards working together to create a better performing network.
Phil_Britt 10/19/2015 | 10:23:45 AM
Re: 5G in name only? You're ritght about it being 5G only if all other conditions are right. That's typical of tech for MANY years. I remember a 4 ppm dot matrix printer I had. You were lucky if you could get 2 ppm. That's why some technology seems to work so great in conference environments -- though there have been glitches at those as well -- but not in real-world usage.
Susan Fourtané 10/19/2015 | 4:45:32 AM
Re: 5G in name only? smkinoshita, that's exactly what happened with some networks marketed as 4G, which it meant 4G on a good day in the right spot, and 3G the rest of the time. -Susan
TV Monitor 10/18/2015 | 9:23:44 PM
Re: 5G in name only? Sprint's parent company Softbank already declared China's TD-LTE+ as company's 5G format in 2.5 Ghz band. 

The problem is that Softbank is banned from deploying Chinese equipment in the US, so they have been asking if Nokia and Samsung could supply them with TD-LTE+ compatible equipment for the US market, assuring that Huawei and ZTE would cooperate with them on producing compatible base stations.

As you may have noticed, Verizon is not working with Chinese vendors, so the 5G they are talking about is likely Samsung's 28 Ghz format and Nokia's 73 Ghz formet.
TV Monitor 10/18/2015 | 9:18:36 PM
Re: 5G in name only? KT's 28 Ghz network will begin a network stabilized testing by summer of 2017 at Pyeongchang, for a full scale 5G demonstration before visiting world press with specially prepared loaner phones.

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