On Friday, Sprint announced that it planned to roll out a mobile 5G network in the first half of 2019. This would mean that Sprint would lag behind its rivals AT&T and Verizon, as mobile carriers have said they have plans to roll out 5G coverage later this year. This target date would be Sprint ahead of T-Mobile, however, which has set 2020 as its roll-out date for 5G networks.
That being said, Sprint does have one advantage over Verizon when it comes to its potential 5G networks. As of right now, Verizon is only working on fixed networks, meaning that it will only use 5G as a way to improve its wireless broadband coverage. Sprint is working on creating a mobile 5G network that would work on smartphones.
Sprint has said that it is working with Qualcomm on 5G technology and one South Korean company says that it already has a 5G device in the works for Sprint’s network.
In terms of pricing, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure also provided some details on the prices for its 5G networks and some customers may not be happy. Sprint is planning on raising its rates for unlimited service from $50 and $60 to about $70 and $80. This would bring it in line with the prices of its competitors.
“It’s going to be very difficult for our competitors to increase the price of unlimited,” Claure said. “But we’re going to have a lot of room to increase our price of unlimited to get to similar prices as Verizon and AT&T in the future.”
Sprint is using different technology from Verizon or AT&T when it comes to building its 5G network. Both of those companies are relying on millimeter spectrum, which provides fast speed within a limited service area. Claure says that such a service isn’t practical for building a nationwide coverage network.
Sprint’s 5G plans are certainly ambitious, but it should be noted that Claure has made similar announcements in the past. In 2015, he said that within two years’ time, Sprint would have the best network in the country. Sprint’s coverage has improved over the past three years, but it still lags behind its rivals though Claure says that is due to the company underestimating how long its infrastructure improvements would take.