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Sprint bringing Massive MIMO to six cities, prepping for 5G

Six American cities will get antenna upgrades from Sprint that will enable faster speeds and more reliable service, and prep for 5G.

Published onFebruary 27, 2018

sprint massive mimo 5g
  • Sprint will bring Massive MIMO to six American cities in April.
  • The upgrade will give Sprint subscribers in those cities better and faster service.
  • The upgrades will enable a 5G network rollout in the future, via a software upgrade.
  • Only phones that can use band 41 will gain any advantages from Massive MIMO.

From the promotional image above (posted on Twitter today), it seems Sprint will bring its 5G network to six major U.S. cities. See the big 5G in the middle? Those cities are getting 5G, right?

After scrutinizing the text in the image, reading through the related press release, and watching Sprint’s helpful YouTube video (posted below), here’s what we know: those six American cities are getting upgraded tower hardware, which will enable 5G to rollout at some point in the future.

Calling the upgraded hardware Massive MIMO, Sprint is prepping Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., for its future 5G network. Slated to arrive in April, the Massive MIMO upgrade will give Sprint subscribers in those cities faster and more reliable service instantly, but it will not be 5G.

Sprint calls Massive MIMO a “critical bridge to Sprint’s 5G network,” with more transmitters and receivers than traditional antenna hardware and support for 2.5 GHz (band 41) frequency. Sprint says upgrading the hardware in the future to 5G will only need a software upgrade. Basically, the company is upgrading its hardware now so it can quickly turn 5G on later. In the meantime, customers with devices supporting band 41 will see faster speeds and more reliable connections.

Don’t know if your device supports band 41? Use this handy tool to see if your phone makes the cut. Some popular devices that support band 41 are the OnePlus 5T, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the HUAWEI Mate 10, and the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Sprint is now in a race against AT&T to be the first to bring 5G speeds to America. tThe latter company announced it would launch 5G in twelve U.S. cities before the end of the year. Verizon has yet to commit to any locations where its own 5G network will be available. And, true to form, T-Mobile has rejected the other three carriers’ “Fake 5G” claims and confirmed it would be the first to roll out a full, nationwide 5G network rather than city-specific networks.

Of course, none of this matters if we don’t have phones that support 5G connections.

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