Sprint Unveils Another 5G Device

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has unveiled the second 5G-compatible device for its planned network, a "Smart Hub" router, which can distribute 5G signal to multiple devices.

Sprint says the device will be available in the first half of 2019. CTO John Saw says the device will support both 5G and gigabit LTE. "This innovative product will allow customers on the go, at work or at home to enjoy Sprint 5G on multiple devices with incredibly fast connectivity," said Saw in a statement.

Sprint not give details about the download speeds offered through the device. In September, however, Saw said that the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) -based mobile 5G network will offer downloads of "hundreds of megabits" when live in the first half of 2019. (See Slideshow: Behind the Scenes at Sprint's 5G 'Split'.)

The hub adds to an initial 5G phone for Sprint, from LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , also due in the first half of 2019. (See Sprint Reveals 3 More 5G Cities, Promises 'Cool' 5G Phone & Small Cell and Sprint's Marquardt on the 5G Sweet Spot.)

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The smart hub appears similar in concept to Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s recently announced Nighthawk 5G mobile hotspot, otherwise known as the "mobile puck." Both devices offer a simple way for users to use 5G across several devices, distributed via WiFi. (See AT&T Says First 5G Sites Are Live in Texas and AT&T Reveals First Commercial 5G Device.)

A Sprint spokesperson told Light Reading that the operator will use 2.4GHz for both the 5G and gigabit LTE connections.

"Sprint's first 5G markets include nine of some of the largest cities in the country: New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Kansas City and Washington, D.C." the spokesperson noted. "Sprint will have contiguous 5G footprints in the downtown areas of these cities. For example, in LA, Sprint will offer mobile 5G service all the way from Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica." (See 5G in the USA: Fall Edition.)

This is initial plan for Sprint and 5G anyway. Much could change if its planned $26.5 billion merger with T-Mobile US Inc. closes -- as expected -- in the first half of 2019. The two operators would combine 600MHz, 2.5GHz, and millimeter wave spectrum to create a nationwide mobile network offering 444-Mbit/s average download speeds. (See Sprint's Claure: US 5G Leadership Depends on T-Mobile Merger.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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