IRVING, Texas -- Sprint has officially launched Dallas as one of its first 5G markets. The carrier's CTO John Saw and Ryan Sullivan, its head of product development, along with executives from Ericsson, spoke with media and analysts here at a press conference held at the Dallas Marriott Las Colinas hotel.
From tomorrow (May 31), Sprint's first two 5G devices -- the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and the HTC 5G Hub -- will be commercially available.
In addition to Dallas, Sprint's other debut 5G markets this week will be Atlanta, Houston and Kansas City.
Following the 5G rollout in those first four cities, Sprint has said it will begin offering service in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, DC.
Sprint CTO Saw said this initial launch would cover nearly 600 square miles in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. That includes some of Fort Worth and far north Dallas, but not quite downtown Dallas: Getting access to the existing cell towers and infrastructure there proved challenging and those upgrades are still being worked on, Saw said.
"A network is never done," Saw told journalists and analysts here. "We're continuously improving on the network that we have."
The new network will bring faster downloads at first and, eventually, lower latency. "You should be mobile on 5G -- so you should see speeds above 100 Mbit/s consistently," Saw said. The initial downloads on Sprint's 5G network will be on its 5G NR technology but uploads will be on its LTE network and the latency experienced will be the same as on the LTE network.
Saw said that in a few weeks he expects the Sprint network to start using 5G NR for data uploads.
The carrier wasn't the first to launch 5G in the US, and it isn't launching as many markets as AT&T and Verizon. But it does have one advantage: A significant number of consumers are inside its coverage area and will be able to access it through readily available devices.
"There is little doubt that Sprint will be talking up the greater coverage within its initial markets using 2.5GHz spectrum as its competitive advantage compared to AT&T and Verizon launching in mmWave spectrum with far less reach," wrote Ovum Senior Analyst Kristin Paulin, in a May 20 report on 5G in the US.
"Another significant advantage Sprint has over all three main competitors is that Sprint's 5G network will be an upgrade of [its] existing LTE network," Paulin wrote. "In contrast, AT&T and Verizon's 5G mmWave requires an entirely new build, and even T-Mobile will require new build as its 600MHz LTE network has not yet been completed."
Sprint's Heather Campbell spoke with Light Reading earlier this month to discuss what to expect when the first four cities go live with 5G:
We'll have more from Sprint's launch event as details become available.
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