If I had to guess, they'll deploy just enough to meet their federally mandated requirements (70% of the US population within ~3 years), based on where the concentration of their Boost Mobile customer usage is. They've got a sweetheart roaming/MVNO agreement with T-Mobile for seven years so there will be a ton of places it won't make sense to build out. They'll deploy with 600 MHz in those areas first, since that'll be the quickest way to satisfy the buildout requirements...plus 700 downlink. AWS deployments will probably start with the same cell sites, but i expect there'll be AWS-only sites in cities as that's one fewer set of radios to set up and I'm convinced Dish will build this network as cheaply as they possibly can.
The main scenario where I envision NR CA being useful is edge of cell scenarios, where N71 can be used for PCC and N41 as SCC. You gain the better and more stable uplink from low band, extending the range of N41. There are a lot of places now where B41 uplink is basically failing, but can still be used for download if uplink was on another band. The wider carrier widths of N41 width helps, plus NR is supposed to be better with weak signal uploads than LTE I believe, but it would still be nice to have and see N71+N41. It would also likely take load off of N71. Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
The nice thing about T-Mo's 5G network though is that there shouldn't be a burning need to aggregate NR, with the exception of areas where their 2.5 holdings are chopped up into smaller channels due to licensing weirdness (which to my knowledge is a relatively small chunk of territory). Since NR channels can be 40/60 MHz, you just plop one of those channels down in 2.5 and have a significant amount of capacity to play with, while n71 is left for folks who aren't close enough to the cell for n41, similar to how T-Mobile prioritizes B71 right now.
If T-Mobile wants to fill in more speed in areas with contiguity issues, they can add B41 channels (which they're already doing in some areas). B41 is less efficient of course, but virtually every Sprint phone can use it, as well as plenty of T-Mobile phones, so they can push more users to T-Mobile primary without making (more of) a hash of their network.
At some point of course, they'll want more capacity in areas where they don't have enough contiguous spectrum to just make a bigger NR carrier, but the X60 will have dropped by then...sounds like it could actually wind up in the iPhone 12 series.
For a bit there, the S20 series were the only current-gen-5G capable phones on Sprint, so the LG and now OnePlus variants came in late enough in the game that you can safely assume their numbers were <100k combined. Remember that Sprint has been pushing the S20 series *hard* with discounts, so they're selling like hotcakes (I'm sure they're above 500k for the entire line at this point).
As for the folks getting the first-gen 5G phones, 75K total is actually pretty decent for a network that was only lit in a few markets, with no timeline for elsewhere.
I'm curious about what Verizon's numbers are at this point. Their current mmWave network almost certainly covers less territory than Sprint's 41+41 network did, and they aren't discounting their phones any because they don't have a burning need to push folks to the new network like Sprint does. Going to guess that, despite being a larger carrier, they still haven't cracked 500k 5G phone sales. Wouldn't be surprised if AT&T hasn't either.
NR right now is operating in a mode called non standalone (NSA). LTE has to be the anchor band (primary carrier) and NR is aggregated. It uses the LTE core. For voice calls, it actually drops the NR carrier. Honestly I'm not sure what about those phones prevents them from being able to use B2 or B66 as an anchor other than software/certifications. I'm not aware of any technical limitation of the modem that would prevent it Supposedly standalone (SA) NR is coming by the end of the year. This will use NR as the primary carrier, and use the NR core (and enable VoNR). I think it can still aggregate LTE carriers as secondary, but no current modems support aggregating multiple NR carriers. For that we have to wait for the x60. I guess technically once SA NR comes, these older phones would be able to use it. The issue would be whether or not they're actually capable of SA, and if they can do VoNR with software updates. And I guess also whether or not they'd get those software updates if so. Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk