3GPP 5G NR Specification Release 15 to Include Sprint 2.5 GHz Spectrum Band

Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum band will now be included in the Non-Standalone 3GPP 5G NR Specification (initial part of Release 15) ratified at the 3GPP TSG RAN plenary meeting. The specification includes bandwidths up to 100 MHz for an n41 (2.5 GHz) single component carrier vs. today’s 20 MHz per component carrier for 4G LTE.

With more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum available in the top 100 U.S. markets, this gives Sprint the largest nationwide block of sub-6 GHz 5G spectrum available for wide-scale use in the U.S.

Sprint’s priority is mobile 5G, and the company has been working with Qualcomm Technologies and SoftBank to develop technologies for wide-scale 5G deployment. It plans to provide commercial services and devices in late 2019. In addition, the company is working with its RAN (Radio Access Network) suppliers  Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung  for end-to-end availability of 5G NR in Sprint’s 2.5 GHz (n41) spectrum.

Sprint’s initial path to market for 5G will be through the deployment of 2.5 GHz Massive MIMO radios slated for commercial use in 2018. These 64T64R (64 transmitters, 64 receivers) radios will also be software-upgradable to 5G NR.