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Insights from Sprint’s 5G Road Map

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Sprint on 5G technology

In the telecommunications world, 5G (fifth-generation) technology is generating a lot of hype. It could provide ten to 100 times faster wireless speeds than 4G (fourth-generation) technology. 

Sprint’s (S) management has indicated that the carrier views its 2.5 GHz (gigahertz) spectrum as low-band for 5G, and it plans to provide commercial 5G services and devices in late 2019.

According to an RCRWireless News report on May 10, 2017, “Sprint executives outlined plans to also leverage its 2.5 GHz holdings for LTE [long-term evolution], through a combination of new devices that support high-power user equipment features to boost the coverage range of that spectrum (such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, LG G6 and ZTE Max XL) and network densification. Sprint expects to spend $3.5 to $4 billion on network-based capital expenditures in the coming year.”

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AT&T is an aggressive player in the 5G market

AT&T (T) is an aggressive player in the 5G market, and it’s tried to outbid its rivals to gain spectrum advantage. AT&T was the highest bidder during the AWS-3 spectrum auction in early 2015, purchasing spectrum worth $18.2 billion.

The AWS-3 spectrum auction was a major auction conducted by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) after 2008. As we can see in the graph above, Verizon (VZ) and T-Mobile (TMUS) also participated in the auction, making winning bids of $10.4 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively.

T-Mobile’s management earlier indicated that over a period of time, 5G will spread across all spectrum bands and won’t be limited to 600 MHz (megahertz). T-Mobile was the top bidder in the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction last month, when it agreed to spend nearly $8 billion to acquire 600 MHz of low-band spectrum.

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