Sprint hints at speeds up to 6 Gbps over LTE

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Sprint said it will be able to push LTE capacity to 3 Gbps to 6 Gbps per sector.

The race to gigabit LTE is on, but Sprint is already talking about speeds as much as six times faster.

As FierceWirelessTech reported this morning, Sprint and Samsung reported achieving peak speeds of 330 Mbps per channel using a 20 MHz channel at 2.5 GHz during a recent test in South Korea. The test represented a real-world application of the new technology, Sprint said in a press release, on 2.5 GHz spectrum – a band with which the carrier is very familiar in the United States.

Gigabit LTE has become a white-hot topic for carriers over the last year as carriers look to new technologies and architectures to get the most from their LTE networks. Last fall, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray suggested the carrier plans to offer data transmissions “approaching gigabit LTE speeds” in at least some markets this year by coupling three-way carrier aggregation with 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output).

Australia’s Telstra debuted the world’s first commercial gigabit LTE network and device last October with partners Ericsson, Qualcomm and Netgear. The service is being rolled out in select capital cities across Australia with more to come. The service is enabled with the Qualcomm Technologies’ Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which is Qualcomm's first Gigabit LTE modem. Netgear provided the Nighthawk M1 mobile router with Gigabit LTE technology (Category 16 LTE Advanced), and Ericsson contributed its technology as well.

“In cities across the U.S., Sprint plans to deploy massive MIMO radios with 128 antenna elements (64T64R) using its 2.5 GHz spectrum to increase capacity up to eight times,” Sprint said in its press release this morning. “In March, Sprint was the first U.S. carrier to debut gigabit Class LTE on a live commercial network in New Orleans. There Sprint used three-channel carrier aggregation and 60 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum, in combination with 4X4 MIMO and 256-QAM higher order modulation, to achieve Category 16 LTE download data speeds on a TDD network. With massive MIMO radios using 64T64R, Sprint has the ability to push capacity beyond 1 Gbps to reach 3-6 Gbps per sector.”