YOU ARE AT:Chips - SemiconductorSprint and Qualcomm debut gigabit LTE on Motorola handset

Sprint and Qualcomm debut gigabit LTE on Motorola handset

Sprint said it is the first U.S. carrier to deploy “gigabit class” LTE on a commercial network. The carrier showcased the technology at New Orleans’ Smoothie King stadium using a forthcoming Motorola handset powered by Qualcomm’s 835 mobile platform with an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.

Gigabit LTE refers to gigabit-per-second download speeds, and is expected to support new use cases for wireless technology, including industrial internet of things applications, virtual and augmented reality, and consistent access to large files stored in the cloud.

Qualcomm has introduced two gigabit LTE modems, both of which support carrier aggregation, four-channel multiple-input/multiple-output antenna technology and 256 quadrature amplitude modulation. The Sprint deployment used three channels (60 megahertz) of Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum to achieve Category 16 LTE download data speeds on a TDD network.

“Only Sprint has enough licensed spectrum to deliver this level of capacity and performance in major markets across the country,” said Sprint CTO John Saw. “Our high-band 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE spectrum is uniquely suited for gigabit class LTE, and we fully intend to maximize our deep spectrum holdings to provide customers with more immersive and connected mobile experiences.”

Sprint said it has deployed the three-channel carrier aggregation required for gigabit LTE speeds in more than 100 markets. The carrier’s next step is to seed the markets with Category 16 devices that support 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM, which could take some time as most currently available smartphones do not support these technologies.

In the meantime, Sprint said it will use massive MIMO to enhance capacity and coverage using its 2.5 GHz spectrum. Massive MIMO does not require handset upgrades, the carrier said. Massive MIMO radios that can transmit and receive on 64 channels split capacity between multiple end user devices within a sector.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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