It seems AT&T isn't the only company planning to roll out a 5G network in the near future. Sprint has its own roadmap to launch a next-generation mobile network sometime in 2019, affirming their plans to lay the groundwork necessary to make that goal a reality.
Whereas AT&T's 5G plans involve an initial 2018 network launch in three select cities -- Dallas, Waco and Seattle -- Sprint will be doing their initial launch in six cities. These "5G-ready" locations include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington DC.
The cell provider plans to accomplish this task by setting up multiple Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antennas during 2018. This new antenna technology will reportedly be capable of using 128 antennas to deliver "up to 10 times the capacity of current LTE systems." In theory, this tech should translate to faster, fatter and more efficient data pipes for Sprint's customers.
To be clear, the Massive MIMO rollout will not immediately lead to 5G network connectivity for customers. Rather, it will merely act as a stepping stone leading to Sprint's larger 5G plans in 2019. This is a sensible move given the fact that no major phone makers have launched 5G-ready devices just yet.
"With Massive MIMO at the foundation of Sprint's Gigabit LTE and 5G service, Sprint can keep meeting its customers' demand for unlimited data and high-bandwidth applications," Sprint said in a press release. "Customers will have a great experience using 6K and 8K TV, and applications such as HD Virtual Reality."