Sprint demonstrated 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) over-the-air speeds at its lab near Silicon Valley, California.
Sprint Spark, which is still in prototype status, uses carrier aggregation to combine FDD-LTE at 800 MHz and 1.9 GHz with TDD-LTE at 2.5GHz.
Sprint claims that it is technically feasible to deliver more than 2 Gbps per sector of over-the-air speed given its extensive spectrum licenses, especially in the 2.5 GHz band.
high-speed capability demonstrates 50-60 Megabits per second (Mbps) peak speeds today with increasing speed potential over time. Given Sprint's spectrum and technology assets, it is technically feasible to deliver more than 2Gbps per sector of over-the-air speed.
"Sprint Spark is a combination of advanced capabilities, like 1x, 2x and 3x carrier aggregation for speed, 8T8R for coverage, MIMO for capacity, TDD for spectral efficiency, together with the most advanced devices offering both tri-band capability and high-definition voice for the best possible customer experience," said Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint.
Sprint announced plans to deploy Spark in about 100 of America's largest cities during the next three years, with initial availability in five markets today at lower speeds in the 50-60 Mbps range.
Sprint 4G LTE service will be available by mid-2014 to approximately 250 million Americans, and Sprint expects 100 million Americans will have Sprint Spark or 2.5GHz coverage by the end of 2014. The first markets with limited availability are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. The first smartphones with Sprint Spark capability are scheduled for customer availability in early November.
Some other key points of the announcement:
- Sprint current has approximately 55,000 macro cell sites and plans to stay at this level for the next few years.
- A rollout of small cells beginning next year will augment capacity, coverage and speed.
- Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Solutions and Networks and Samsung have been selected to provide 2.5GHz radio heads and to enable Sprint Spark. Each company will service approximately one-third of Sprint's deployment markets.
- The 2.5GHz radios are expected to have capabilities for 8 Transmitters 8 Receivers (8T8R), which will be a first deployment of its kind in North America. These radios will be capable of improved coverage, capacity and speeds when compared to the more traditional 2T2R or 4T4R radios used by our competitors.
- Sprint Spark is designed to accommodate all of Sprint's spectrum bands on a single tri-band smartphone. The first tri-band devices will be available to customers in the next few weeks and offered by HTC, LG and Samsung.
- Sprint's HD Voice capability, which is also supported on 3G, reaches approximately 85 million people across the Sprint network today, and the company expects 250 million to have access to HD Voice capability by mid-2014. Sprint expects 12 million HD Voice devices in the customer base by the end of 2013, growing to 20 million by the end of 2014.