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Sprint and Nokia announced the companies will demo the first live U.S. 5G NR connection over a Massive MIMO radio at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles this week.

The demo will utilize Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum, Nokia’s commercial AirScale Baste Station and Massive MIMO Active Antenna, and a Viavi TM500 5G test device emulator.

The companies said the system using a dual mode-capable Massive MIMO antenna can support up to 120 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band. Peak downlink speeds are expected to hit up to 3 Gbps for a single sector over both 5G and LTE simultaneously using Sprint’s spectrum. Sprint said this enables the carrier to offer both 4G LTE and 5G on the same radio.

“Sprint has long collaborated with Nokia on its Massive MIMO and 5G innovations, and we’re excited by this first live 5G NR system connection to help us bring mobile 5G to the U.S. market in the first half of 2019,” says Sprint CTO John Saw in statement. “Because of our large spectrum holdings Sprint is one of the only operators in the world with enough capacity to operate LTE and 5G simultaneously using Massive MIMO and huge licensed channels of 100 MHz of spectrum on the same radios.”

“This joint 5G NR demonstration using Nokia’s Massive MIMO technology is another proof point of our innovative work with Sprint as part of their Next-Gen Network strategy,” Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks at Nokia, says. “The significant cell capacity Massive MIMO offers is why the technology is playing a central role in 5G, which will allow Sprint to provide increased coverage, reliability and speed across its nationwide network.”

On Monday, AT&T also announced that it has selected Nokia – along with Ericsson and Samsung – as its technology suppliers for its 5G deployments starting later this year.

Nokia last week announced another 5G first with Verizon, successfully completing an over-the-air, end-to-end data transmission on a commercial 3GPP 5G NR network over commercially deployed Nokia radio equipment.

 

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