Despite buzz around pre-commercial fixed wireless deployments from its rivals, Sprint has pegged mobile 5G as its focus, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The spokeswoman didn’t say Sprint doesn’t have fixed wireless trials planned – only that none have been announced – but did indicate Sprint has made mobile 5G its “priority.” The carrier, she said, has turned its attention to densifying its wireless network to lay the foundation of 5G in its network.
According to the spokeswoman, Sprint is currently adding more cell sites and antennas across all of its spectrum bands, and is also planning to “unveil some innovative work with Massive MIMO.” The spokeswoman said the latter will push 1 Gbps class speed boundaries using only Sprint’s licensed spectrum. The tests will be “an important showcase of Sprint’s LTE Plus capacity enabled by our deep 2.5 GHz spectrum position,” she said.
Back in December during a launch event for its HPUE technology, Sprint CTO John Saw and COO Gunther Ottendorfer shared the carrier is working on a 64×64 Massive MIMO prototype with Nokia. Massive MIMO is “coming soon” to Sprint’s network, the pair indicated.
According to Sprint’s presentation at that December event, Massive MIMO can increase capacity up to 10 times what is offered with traditional radios and improves beamforming performance. The carrier also indicated the technology will also offer a “significant capacity boost” to Sprint’s macro network, providing Sprint with cost savings in network build.
Sprint’s decision to focus on mobile 5G comes as rivals like Verizon and AT&T move forward with pre-commercial fixed wireless 5G trials. But Sprint isn’t the only carrier eschewing fixed 5G scenarios. T-Mobile also recently indicated it doesn’t have any particular interest in moving on fixed wireless 5G in particular.