The carrier aims to launch commercial 5G services in nine markets this year

Sprint has opened a 5G experience center at its headquarters in Kansas City with the aim of showcasing and explaining the benefits of 5G technology, the carrier said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to provide our guests and employees an exciting way to experience the future of wireless technology in a fun and educational way in our new space,” said Steve Gaffney, Sprint vice president of media and experiential marketing. “With Sprint 5G coming soon in our first nine markets, this dedicated venue will provide unique and interactive ways to tell the story of 5G and help visitors visualize the types of innovations it will bring.”

Sprint announced plans to launch commercial 5G services starting in May in nine markets. Sprint’s first 5G cities will be Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City, with  Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington D.C. also slated to launch in the first half of 2019.

The carrier’s total initial 5G footprint is expected to cover more than 1,000 square miles across all these cities.

Those footprints typically cover the local airport and/or large local sports venues, according to Sprint. The carrier said that it “plans to offer coverage in the downtown area of these cities for its highly mobile, on-the-go customers.” Sprint is deploying Samsung equipment in Chicago, and it is working with Nokia in Los Angeles and Ericsson in Atlanta.

The Sprint 5G experience facility features more than a dozen stations and demonstrations that use augmented reality, virtual reality and simulated displays.

“With faster speeds and lower latency, 5G has the potential to significantly improve our homes, workplaces, cities and lives,” said John Saw, Sprint CTO. “As we prepare to launch Sprint 5G with so many companies in our ecosystem, we are proud to be working with them to showcase what is possible with our next-generation technology in our new 5G Experience.”

Sprint’s 5G experience center will provide private tours to small and medium business, enterprise and government customers and prospects, along with the greater Kansas City economic development community interested in better understanding the benefits of 5G, the carrier said.

Companies including Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies and Samsung Electronics supported Sprint in the launch of this 5G facility.

During Mobile World Congress 2019, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, last month, Sprint CTO John Saw said Sprint is deploying its 2.5 GHz spectrum and massive multiple-input multiple-output technology that can support both LTE and 5G simultaneously.  This means that Sprint’s 5G footprint will overlap its LTE footprint at 2.5 GHz, with much greater range than millimeter wave-based 5G. The carrier is using that greater range to claim that it will have the first “real” mobile 5G network when it launches later this year.

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