Kansas City on Thursday became among the first cities in the country to get a taste of ultra-fast download speeds for wireless devices as Sprint launched its 5G network here and elsewhere.
Sprint is also sparking the fire on what it calls “blazing-fast” download speed in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, the first wave in the wireless company’s pursuit of upgrades to its technology upgrade.
“We’re proud to be the first operator to launch 5G in Kansas City, and we can’t wait for our hometown customers to experience true mobile 5G,” Sprint chief executive Michel Combes said in a statement. “Sprint 5G is a platform for innovation that will create new opportunities and growth across a wide range of industries in Kansas City, from healthcare and manufacturing to agriculture, transportation and hospitality.”
Sprint’s initial 5G network in Kansas City covers about 225 square miles and serves 625,000 people, mostly from downtown Kansas City into Johnson County.
Sprint expects to start its 5G network in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks.
Rolling out a 5G network is a major play in Sprint’s proposed merger with T-Mobile. The two companies have pledged to deploy 5G speeds as well as to cover rural areas with wireless broadband as a sweetener for regulators who are examining the $26 billion tie-up between the third and fourth largest wireless companies.
Commissioners with the Federal Communications Commission have signaled their approval of the merger and the companies await what a reportedly skeptical Justice Department may say about the deal.
Sprint has indicated that it needs a merger with T-Mobile not only to have the resources to build out a nationwide 5G network, but to realistically continue on as a standalone company.
A 5G network is expected to be a big upgrade on current 4G networks, allowing better streaming and download speeds for entertainment and business applications.
“When Sprint rolled out the 4G service, I witnessed the significant impact that it had on local business and economic growth,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, in a statement. “I believe wholeheartedly that 5G will be no different.”
Sprint said customers with LG V50, ThinQ 5G and HTC 5G Hub devices can experience the 5G speeds, with Samsung Galaxy S10 5G coming later this summer.