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LTE Advanced Launch announced on 10/31

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So, what handset do I need to experience LTE Advanced?  Has anyone observed "Gigabit-Class" speeds yet?

 

https://newsroom.sprint.com/quarterly-network-update.htm

Sprint Reaches Nationwide LTE Advanced Milestone and Delivers Gigabit-Class Performance in More than 225 Cities

by Dr. John Saw
Chief Technology Officer
 
 
 
 

Sprint’s Next-Gen Network build gains momentum in second fiscal quarter 

 
October 31, 2018

5G is nearly here, but it’s no secret that LTE has a long runway, playing a critical role in delivering a great wireless experience for customers in the years ahead. This is one of the reasons we’re investing billions in our Next-Gen Network, building a strong LTE Advanced network while we work to launch mobile 5G in the first half of next year.

We’ve been steadily rolling out LTE Advanced technologies such as 256 QAM, 4X4 MIMO, enhanced Beamforming with Transmission Mode 9 (TM9) and two- and three-channel Carrier Aggregation. In addition, we are also enhancing our Uplink performance with capabilities like Uplink Carrier Aggregation, 64 QAM and High Performance User Equipment (HPUE). And we’re in the process of supercharging these capabilities with Massive MIMO! All these features are giving customers an even better LTE data experience, and they’re important stepping stones to 5G, providing a strong fallback layer to ensure customers move seamlessly between our LTE and 5G networks.

We’re excited to report that our LTE Advanced network is now nationwide, delivering up to 2X faster speeds than before. And in more than 225 cities we’re now delivering gigabit-class LTE performance.1 This includes many of the largest cities in the country – Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., with many more on the way. These Sprint LTE Advanced capabilities enable customers nationwide using the latest flagship devices to download movies, music and games, share photos and more, all up to twice as fast as before.2

Sprint%20LTE%20Advanced%20Gig%20LTE%20Ne

Small Cells and Massive MIMO Gain Momentum

In addition to these LTE Advanced capabilities, our network team remains hard at work rolling out more capacity and new network infrastructure.

On the small cells front, we continue to make great progress with more small cells being lit up in the past six months than in the previous two years combined. Today we now have more than 21,000 2.5 GHz outdoor small cells on-air, compared to only 2,000 last year. This includes approximately 15,000 strand mount small cells deployed on cable infrastructure, and about 6,500 on-street mini macros.

Indoors, our award-winning Sprint Magic Box continues to improve service for businesses and consumers with more than 264,000 distributed to date. And this past quarter we launched two new versions – the Sprint Magic Box Hospitality Edition and our smaller, faster, gigabit-class LTE Sprint Magic Box Generation 3, which will be available starting this November.

Our network teams also continue to light up more 5G-ready Massive MIMO radios in preparation to launch Sprint 5G next year in nine of some of the largest cities in the country: New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Kansas City and Washington, D.C. This breakthrough technology dramatically improves the capacity of our LTE network and is software upgradable to 5G. We’re extremely pleased with the early commercial performance on these Massive MIMO sites using 64T64R radios. Compared to our 8T8R radios, we’re currently seeing an impressive 4X increase in speeds, and more importantly, a 7X increase in capacity.

Best-Ever Performance in Fastest Download Speeds

Our Next-Gen Network investment is clearly taking hold, delivering a better wireless experience for our customers. In fact, the latest quarterly data from Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence® shows Sprint had its best-ever ranking with the fastest average download speed in 123 cities, our most city wins to date.3 And we continue to be the most improved carrier in the country, with national average download speeds up a significant 31.5% year-over-year.4

419772_2018_ookla_oct_data_avg_dl_speed_

Similarly, recent Nielsen drive test data in the top 106 markets across the country, shows Sprint is by far the most improved carrier with download speeds up 72% year-over-year.5

72%25ImprovementNielsenGreyNewsroom.jpg

The key driver behind our improved data speeds is the deployment of more 2.5 GHz spectrum. Today 2.5 GHz is deployed on roughly 70% of our macro sites – compared to about 50% one year ago – and we remain on track to complete the majority of our triband upgrades by the end of this fiscal year.

Continuing our Next-Gen Network Investment

It’s been a busy second fiscal quarter and I’m proud of the milestone we reached with LTE Advanced technology deployed nationwide, serving up gigabit-class performance in hundreds of cities. Millions of customers now have a data experience that’s up to twice as fast as before. And these technologies play a vital role supporting the roll-out of Sprint 5G in the first half of 2019.

We remain laser-focused on executing our largest network investment in years. Customers all across the country are experiencing better coverage, reliability and speed as we upgrade cell sites to triband service, add new cell sites and small cells, and deploy Massive MIMO technology.

We also continue to advocate for the many benefits of a merger with T-Mobile. We’re confident that our Next-Gen Network investment will help the combined company rapidly create the best nationwide mobile 5G network, fueling unprecedented levels of innovation here in the U.S. and around the globe.

-- John

 

1 On gigabit-class devices.

2 Compared to Sprint 4G LTE.

3 Analysis by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data average download speeds from 7/1/18 to 9/30/18 for all mobile results.

4 Analysis by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data comparing average download speeds from September 2017 to September 2018 for all mobile results. 

5 Sprint’s analysis of Nielsen’s Drive Test data in the top 106 markets for GET3 speeds (10 seconds 1GB parallel file download testing network capability) comparing 2017 D1 to latest drives (completed from 4/18 to 9/18)

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People have started posting speeds of 300Mbps+ more recently and 200Mbps+ speeds are becoming more frequent. I was recently at LaGuardia airport pulling 178Mbps which could likely be attributed to gigabit class LTE since it is a very busy place. I've noticed my Band 41 speeds in general are faster than ever before.

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To be "gigabit class" you  need a device capable of 4x4 MIMO on 2.5, 3x 20 MHz B41 CA, 256/64 QAM DL-UL.

Sprint has been quietly turning on 256/64  QAM + 4x4 MIMO since summer time which has been the major cause of network issues recently (plus VoLTE). 

 

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To be "gigabit class" you  need a device capable of 4x4 MIMO on 2.5, 3x 20 MHz B41 CA, 256/64 QAM DL-UL.
Sprint has been quietly turning on 256/64  QAM + 4x4 MIMO since summer time which has been the major cause of network issues recently (plus VoLTE). 
 
Can the Galaxy S8 use it even tho it's only 4x2 mimo?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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Pixel 3 XL supports CAT 16 - which is just a collection of the following: 

  • 5x DL CA
  • 4x4 MIMO
  • LAA
  • 256-QAM DL
  • 64-QAM UL

But I think Sprint only does 3x DL CA + 4x4 MIMO + 256 QAM DL, right?  What's the peak for that combo?

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Pixel 3 XL supports CAT 16 - which is just a collection of the following: 
  • 5x DL CA
  • 4x4 MIMO
  • LAA
  • 256-QAM DL
  • 64-QAM UL

But I think Sprint only does 3x DL CA + 4x4 MIMO + 256 QAM DL, right?  What's the peak for that combo?

On Sprint, if memory serves, the 3 is exactly the same as the 2, except you get non contig B41 CA, which Sprint hasn't deployed yet to my knowledge. Same number of MIMO streams, same QAM, no UL CA. The modem is capable of more, but Google cheaped out on the RF front end so it's not capable of fully utilizing it.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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I wish they announced a single name of 1 of these "225+ cities"... how is anyone supposed to know where to expect to see Gigabit LTE? I doubt they have the backhaul for 99% of these sites to see past 300.

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I've started seeing 10+ Mbps upload speeds on B41 when I was seeing 6-7 Mbps before, max. I'm going to attribute this to 64QAM. Also lower latencies. Upload speeds still aren't quite as good as prior to the TD reconfig from awhile back, but I'll take it.

I have a feeling Austin isn't on the 225-city list though, otherwise I'd have seen higher download speeds as well; I'm still topping out at ~110 Mbps here.

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On 11/2/2018 at 3:45 PM, iansltx said:

I've started seeing 10+ Mbps upload speeds on B41 when I was seeing 6-7 Mbps before, max. I'm going to attribute this to 64QAM. Also lower latencies. Upload speeds still aren't quite as good as prior to the TD reconfig from awhile back, but I'll take it.

I have a feeling Austin isn't on the 225-city list though, otherwise I'd have seen higher download speeds as well; I'm still topping out at ~110 Mbps here.

The Essential phone is also supposed to be supporting upload carrier aggregation, so it's possible that's part of why you're getting higher upload speeds.

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12 hours ago, Thomas L. said:

The Essential phone is also supposed to be supporting upload carrier aggregation, so it's possible that's part of why you're getting higher upload speeds.

Have I been living under a rock, with other folks reporting upload CA on Sprint? Was pretty sure that wasn't a thing yet. Also, with upload CA I'd expect a slightly larger speed boost vs. the ~50% I'm seeing right now (which is about right for the 16QAM -> 64QAM bump).

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Austin is locked in a lawsuit battle over small cell fees with the government. Sprint has done very little in Austin.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

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On 11/6/2018 at 6:39 AM, jfstx1 said:

Austin is locked in a lawsuit battle over small cell fees with the government. Sprint has done very little in Austin.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

Meh, there are plenty of MM sites toward downtown, though the small cell placement battle is almost certainly why we're not an AT&T 5G launch market. Sprint still seems to be doing upgrades on existing sites, effectively all of which are standard macros or MMs. One of the former is ~1500 ft from where I live, and I hit 130M down, 10.5M up on a speed test a few nights ago, which is a personal high score for downloads on Sprint, as well as on uploads since the TD change.

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Hi. I saw some various conversations about it when searching, but not really a detailed thread or post;

 

It would be nice if there was a centralized/running list of confirmed in the real world phones that are such 'gigabit class'.

Citing or referring to phone specs is nice, but what matters is the real world results of those specs.

 

Perhaps a sticky thread or post somewhere, or even the first post here edited for them.

 

/wave

 

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On 11/6/2018 at 2:21 AM, iansltx said:

Have I been living under a rock, with other folks reporting upload CA on Sprint? Was pretty sure that wasn't a thing yet. Also, with upload CA I'd expect a slightly larger speed boost vs. the ~50% I'm seeing right now (which is about right for the 16QAM -> 64QAM bump).

Yes, 2x carrier aggregation on UL has been reported quite frequently in many markets lately. 

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