Sprint launches 5G mobile in four US cities, first expansions coming within weeks

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in iPhone
Sprint on Thursday launched 5G mobile data in four U.S. urban areas, namely Atlanta, Houston, Kansas City, and Dallas-Fort Worth.

HTC 5G Hub


Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. are set to switch on "in the coming weeks," the carrier said. That will still leaving it offering 5G to no more than 11.5 million people.

As with 5G deployments by other U.S. carriers, even cities that do have access won't immediately get 4G-level coverage. While Atlanta for example will have 150 square miles of 5G extending from downtown to Dunwoody, only 565,000 people live in planned service areas -- a fraction of the over 5.8 million in the broader Atlanta metro area.

To provide the new service Sprint is using "5G Massive MIMO" radios by Ericsson, installed on existing 4G cell sites.

"With Massive MIMO and our mid-band spectrum, Sprint customers will have a great experience that isn't limited to small pockets of millimeter wave 5G coverage," wrote Sprint CTO John Saw in an apparent dig at rivals. mmWave is the the fastest variant of 5G but inherently short-range, which will likely keep it out of rural areas where wireless internet is even more useful.

Apple isn't expected to build 5G Qualcomm modems into iPhones until 2020. That will leave 2019 iPhones lagging behind devices from Samsung and others, but 5G may actually be more practical by the time Apple catches up.

Sprint's first compatible devices include the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the LG V50 ThinQ,and the HTC 5G Hub. The Hub should work with existing iPhones and iPads, generating a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,315member
    Until fixed wireless 5G is price competitive with cable modem, DSL, Satellite and/or fiber to the premises it won’t get all that popular. Mobile 5G is a solution in search of a problem. One simply does not need that kind of speed on a mobile device and data plans being what they are you will go bankrupt very quickly downloading movies and playing games on a 5G phone or tablet.
    JWSCMplsP
  • Reply 2 of 8
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,492member
    lkrupp said:
    Until fixed wireless 5G is price competitive with cable modem, DSL, Satellite and/or fiber to the premises it won’t get all that popular. Mobile 5G is a solution in search of a problem. One simply does not need that kind of speed on a mobile device and data plans being what they are you will go bankrupt very quickly downloading movies and playing games on a 5G phone or tablet.
    This. I'd really like to try it as an alternative to my (admittedly stable and reasonably priced) cable modem at home. I understand though that 5G is sensitive to things like trees and weather, so I am skeptical. But with comparable performance, who wouldn't like a lower price?
    MplsP
  • Reply 3 of 8
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,698member
    Unless somebody has a truly unlimited plan, I don't see the point. 

    For the time being, cable internet at home using ethernet and WIFI, and LTE on my iPhone serves me just fine.
    JWSC
  • Reply 4 of 8
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,744member
    Apple isn't expected to build 5G Qualcomm modems into iPhones until 2020. That will leave 2019 iPhones lagging behind devices from Samsung and others, but 5G may actually be more practical by the time Apple catches up.
    It’s fair to say 5G probably won’t be widespread in 2019, but that doesn’t mean there’s no downside to 2019 iPhones lacking that capability. People who buy phones in 2019 will keep them for two or three years, some even longer. If 5G becomes a must-have feature, next year’s iPhones will be obsolete much sooner than usual.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,673member

    Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. are set to switch on "in the coming weeks," the carrier said. That will still leaving it offering 5G to no more than 11.5 million people.

    As with 5G deployments by other U.S. carriers, even cities that do have access won't immediately get 4G-level coverage. 
    Well, it's sprint, so half its customers don't have 4G service anyways. They could just say they have 5G and people would just assume they weren't getting it because it's sprint!
  • Reply 6 of 8
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,673member
    Apple isn't expected to build 5G Qualcomm modems into iPhones until 2020. That will leave 2019 iPhones lagging behind devices from Samsung and others, but 5G may actually be more practical by the time Apple catches up.
    It’s fair to say 5G probably won’t be widespread in 2019, but that doesn’t mean there’s no downside to 2019 iPhones lacking that capability. People who buy phones in 2019 will keep them for two or three years, some even longer. If 5G becomes a must-have feature, next year’s iPhones will be obsolete much sooner than usual.
    Actually, there are potential downsides - the early 5G modems do not have full capabilities. Frequently they are not optimized and waste power. The extra antennae take up space as well. Aa I recall, the first gen modems also did not include 4G circuitry so device makers needed to include a separate 4G modem, meaning more cost and expense. 

    Like every new technology, 5G will take time to develop and mature and the early devices will be part of this development.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,671member
    Remember that there are really two kinds of “5G”: mmWave is the very short range, very easily interfered with, and very very fast version. The kind of “5G” this article is referring to  is likely to be “sub 6Ghz” 5G, Which should be thought of more as an improved and more-efficient version of LTE —  nowhere near the peak speeds of mmWave.

    Also bear in mind that of the 565,000 people in Atlanta who may be able to take advantage of this, the actual number of people who already have phones compatible with this is approximately 0.1% of that number, if even that.

    Bottom line: these new stories about “launches” of “5G” are really mostly showboating by the carriers. I don’t mean to sound dismissive of 5G: it’s an important technology, and it’s rollout will bring improvements in varying degrees over existing LTE.

    If we had a functioning FCC, however, I think that agency would be more proactive and letting people know that for most of us this speed increase will be nice but not amazing. Said imaginary pro-consumer FCC would also regulate the price so that it doesn’t give the carriers an excuse to jack up prices for what will largely be a incremental, rather than revolutionary, increase in performance for most consumers.


  • Reply 8 of 8
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,204member
    A point of comparison. Vodafone Spain just made its 5G launch official.

    15 cities this month. (More cities to be added).
    Initial speeds 1Gbps (2Gbps before year end)
    All new plans will include 5G.
    Some existing unlimited plans will have 5G automatically included at no extra cost.
    Deployment is mostly with Huawei (including the core).

    No doubt more information will become available over the coming days.
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