Sprint expands 5G to cover 16M in 9 metro areas

LOS ANGELES—It’s not too surprising given its spectrum position, but Sprint today announced it has expanded its “True Mobile 5G” service to now cover about 16 million people within nine metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

Sprint has a boat load of 2.5 GHz spectrum, and it’s using it to cover more areas than its larger, more profitable rivals that are relying initially on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum for 5G rollouts. The mid-band spectrum signals that Sprint controls cover a larger area.

Sprint said in the markets where it’s launched 5G, customers with 5G devices are getting dramatically faster speeds, with initial results showing an increase of nearly six times in average download speeds compared to LTE.

RELATED: Sprint turns on 5G in four more markets

Sprint CTO John Saw didn’t miss a beat in noting that Sprint will be better off if its merger with T-Mobile happens.

"It’s exciting to expand our footprint and see customers experience True Mobile 5G for the very first time in some of the biggest cities in the U.S.," he said in a press release. "We’ve been working hard to increase 5G coverage inside our nine cities and build a showcase experience for our customers, but this is just the start, showing the power of what we can achieve with T-Mobile. Together we’ll build a better, faster, nationwide mobile 5G network that unleashes this performance across the entire country to benefit all U.S. businesses and consumers."

RELATED: Sprint delivers 5G coverage in NYC, despite delayed rollout

Previously, Sprint offered 5G service covering 11 million people in nine metro areas. Since its commercial launches, the company has continued to light up new 5G cell sites and notes that at the foundation is Massive MIMO, which it is using to improve network capacity. Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung Networks are supplying the 64T64R (64 transmitters 64 receivers) 5G Massive MIMO radios, which are being deployed on Sprint’s existing 4G cell sites, providing a nearly identical footprint for both 2.5 GHz LTE and 5G NR coverage.

Here are a few examples of the new locations within its nine 5G markets:

  • In New York, service has expanded to more parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem, and South Bronx; new parts of Queens and Brooklyn, as well as Paterson, Lodi and East Orange in New Jersey.
  • In Los Angeles, 5G is now available in new areas such as Torrance, Southgate, Lancaster and Buena Park.
  • The company lit up new places in the greater Washington, D.C., area including Fort Dupont and Deanwood, parts of Bladensburg and Fairmont Heights in Maryland, and parts of Bailey’s Crossroads and George Mason University in Virginia.

Separately, Sprint introduced two devices to its suite of indoor small cell solutions to improve data coverage and speeds in residences and businesses. The devices are the Pebble femtocell designed and built by Casa Systems and a new version of the Sprint Magic Box designed and manufactured by Sercomm.