Sprint announced Chicago will be the carrier’s first market to get an upgrade to LTE-Advanced.(

As part of a wider set of investments in the city, Sprint will work on juicing up peak speeds to 100 Mbps and faster by using Carrier Aggregation (CA).

As Sprint in February outlined during its latest earnings call, the plan is to use its 1.9 GHz spectrum for uplink and its 2.5 GHz spectrum for downlink. The carrier has previously announced its intentions to involve 8T8R (8 transmit, 8 receive) technology and MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) antennas to help achieve its peak speed goals.

At first, Sprint will focus on CA in 2.5 GHz, according to a Sprint spokeswoman. Going forward, the carrier will begin using technology that will allow it to combine Time Division Duplex (TDD) and Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) variants of LTE.

“Through the use of carrier aggregation we can take advantage of two 3x20 CA within our 2.5GHz band, but also inter-band carrier aggregation with 800MHz and 1.9GHz, TDD-FDD CA with 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz and intra-band carrier aggregation within 1.9GHz,” a Sprint spokeswoman told Wireless Week.

Sprint has already deployed 8T8R technology in Chicago.

The LTE-Advanced deployment is part of Sprint’s plan to invest $45 million by 2016 on network upgrades in Chicago. The carrier also plans to bring 300 new jobs to Chicago and open 46 new retail locations in 2015.

The network upgrade plans in Chicago come as Sprint says wireless usage on its Chicago network has increased 640 percent since 2012.
In RootMetrics’ latest airport wireless network performance study, Sprint’s only win was at O’Hare International.

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