Sprint Plans 2019 5G Hotspot Launch With HTC, Qualcomm

Sprint, the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S., plans to deploy a 5G mobile smart hub in the first half of 2019 developed with HTC and Qualcomm Technologies. Sprint says the “device will deliver multimedia and connected data capabilities in a compact and portable design,” featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem for 5G in addition to Gigabit LTE capabilities. The Kansas-based telecom will introduce its mobile 5G network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Additional markets, the device name and feature specs will be announced at a later date.

“We are thrilled to be working closely with Sprint on this innovative new design,” said HTC chief exec Cher Wang. “This collaboration brought our cutting-edge technology together with Sprint’s industry-leading 5G network to create the next generation smart devices.”

Sprint’s is building its high-speed, low-latency 5G network with an approach called Massive MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) that maximizes wireless antenna arrays to boost signals, capacity and reach. The technology dramatically increases the capacity of Sprint’s current LTE Advanced network and is software upgradeable to 5G.

“With Massive MIMO at the foundation of its mobile 5G service,” notes the press release, “Sprint can meet its customers’ demand for unlimited data and high-bandwidth applications, such as television in high definition and virtual reality.”

“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 for content sharing, mobile gaming, entertainment and so much more,” explained Sprint CTO Dr. John Saw.

Examples of how customers will experience the shift from 4G to 5G include getting full-length HD movie downloads in seconds instead of minutes. Graphic-heavy videos, high-speed games, and virtual reality will play without delays, hiccups or lag-time.

According to Lyle Paczkowski, technology development strategist with Sprint, “the 2.5 Ghz spectrum is the ‘sweet spot’ for Massive MIMO deployment.” Sprint owns the bulk of the 2.5 GHz spectrum in a contiguous block that maximizes channel flexibility.

“With 2.5 GHz, it is possible to put so many small — about 1.5-by-1.5-inch — antennas in a radio set that has a total footprint of about two by two feet, or the size of an extra-large pizza box. If you tried to do that with 600 MHz transmission,” Paczkowski wrote in a Sprint blog post, “the antenna array would be the size of a small automobile. Compactness maximizes space efficiency not only on traditional cell towers, but also on the microsites that will be added to boost coverage in hard-to-reach areas.”

Sprint is also working with other companies on 5G. The telecom “previously said that it is working with LG on a ‘beautifully designed advanced 5G smartphone’ for debut next year,” reports VentureBeat. “AT&T previously announced that its first 5G device, Netgear’s Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, will ship sometime this year, also with Qualcomm’s X50 modem inside.”