Sprint may be the fourth-place U.S. wireless carrier and panned for its spotty nationwide coverage, but the company is already laying the groundwork to boost its LTE network to gigabit speeds. The company is proudly proclaiming that it is the very first carrier to deploy Gigabit Class LTE on a commercial network.
Sprint demonstrated this new high watermark for wireless connectivity in the U.S. in New Orleans, with a prototype Motorola smartphone that is using Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon 835 SoC and Snapdragon X16 Gigabit Class LTE modem. Motorola will debut the production version of this smartphone most likely sometime later this year for use on Sprint’s network.
Sprint says that it is utilizing three-channel carrier aggregation along with a 60MHz slice of its 2.5GHz spectrum to fuel its gigabit service. In the image above, you can see that the prototype device was pegging just over 600 Mbps in testing, although the upload speeds still leave a lot to be desired (as if often the case with LTE).
“Only Sprint has enough licensed spectrum to deliver this level of capacity and performance in major markets across the country,” said Sprint CTO Dr. John Saw. “Our high-band 2.5 GHz TDD LTE spectrum is uniquely suited for Gigabit Class LTE, and we fully intend to maximize our deep spectrum holdings to provide customers with more immersive and connected mobile experiences.”
“We are proud to work together with Sprint to bring Gigabit Class LTE to the United States on a live commercial network for the first time, helping to ensure consumers have a superior connectivity experience,” added Qualcomm SVP Mike Finley. “This is yet another step in accelerating global adoption of Gigabit Class LTE, enabling us to see a glimpse of our 5G future.”
While this first trial run in New Orleans is definitely promising, most Sprint customers would probably prefer that the company work on expanding its existing nationwide LTE footprint before ratcheting up the speeds for a select few. Sprint’s hope is to eventually rollout its Gigabit Class LTE service to “high-traffic locations” around the U.S. as it works towards embracing a 5G wireless future.