5G Industry Insight—Sprint’s Top 8 Strategic Initiatives on the Path to 5G

Network, Spectrum, and Virtualization Enhancements to Support 5G Innovation
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Published: 6 Aug 2018

5th generation (5G) wireless technologies will deliver a potent combination of network capabilities and flexible options for network deployments, service delivery, and network management. 5G deployments are envisioned as a complex amalgamation of various next-generation technological enhancements to the wireless access, transport, cloud, network applications, and management layers. It will incrementally build on various 4G technologies currently deployed, thus enabling mobile operators to preserve existing investments in network infrastructure. A significant share of 5G will be deployed at very high frequencies, which has important ramifications for coverage. In order to overcome the coverage limitations at higher frequencies, 5G networks will be overlaid with “ultra-dense” access networks such as small and metro cells. The core features and functionality of 5G will eventually make their way into lower band spectrum given the need to make them ubiquitous across the United States. Over-investing in 5G building blocks, including wide area and small-cell networks, spectrum, backhaul and front haul, and distributed cloud solutions can restrict the ability of operators to deliver economical 5G services. It is essential for mobile operators to establish the right strategic vendor agreements in order to ensure that they receive the best return on their investments in 5G infrastructure. This Frost & Sullivan analysis presents an overview of Sprint’s 5G strategy and roadmap. It describes the various networking, spectrum and software-related enhancements that Sprint is pursuing in order to deliver next-generation 5G-based communication services. The details presented in the insight focus on Sprint’s efforts to: 1) leverage unique spectrum assets for differentiated 5G deployments, 2) deploy carrier aggregation and massive MIMO as the bridge to 5G, 3) leverage HPUE for improved performance in the 2.5 GHz band, 4) initiate 5G-ready deployments in the major mobile communication markets, 5) collaborate with the Softbank group for 5G service innovation,6) revamp marketing and sales to focus on a solutions-selling approach, 7) deliver network transformation through NFV and virtualization, and 8) upgrade backhaul to support 5G network implementation.

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