Nokia Bell Labs invented massive MIMO, a key part of Sprint 5G strategy
Sprint’s approach to 5G isn’t just an approach to 5G. It’s also a handy way for the carrier to boost it’s LTE network. The carrier is doing this by deploying dual mode massive MIMO and its 2.5 GHz spectrum portfolio to support both generations of cellular at the same time.
As this work goes on, the carrier announced it will demonstrate a live connection over the dual mode Nokia radio during Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles.
The companies are touting the demo as a “first in the U.S. live 5G NR system connection using a massive MIMO active antenna,” which can support channel widths up to 120 megahertz. The partners expect up to 3 Gbps peak downlink throughput.
“We’re excited,” Sprint Chief Technology Officer John Saw said ahead of the planned demo, which is said is a step toward plans to launch mobile 5G in the first half of 2019. “Because of our large spectrum holdings, Sprint is one of the only operators in the world with enough capacity to operate LTE and 5G simultaneously using massive MIMO and huge licensed channels of 100 megahertz of spectrum on the same radios.”
Sprint executives and their counterparts from T-Mobile US are currently working to get approval for a massive merger, which they say could significantly accelerate 5G deployment plans. While that deal is still up in the air, both carriers have articulated independent strategies as it relates to 5G.
Sprint plans to launch its 5G mobile network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.
Nokia’s Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks, said massive MIMO “is playing a central role in 5G, which will allow Sprint to provide increased coverage, reliability and speed across its nationwide network.”