After much speculation, Sprint is finally disclosing some plans for rolling out its 5G network.
Today the telecomm giant announced that beginning in may, the first cities to get 5G will be Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas , and Kansas City. Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and New York City will be added to the network shortly after.
Sprint hasn’t offered a lot of details on what 5G will actually look like for consumers, but the first phone to be compatible with the network will be the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. Other products will be available on the network at a later date. Sprint will also be partnering with Google Fi — the search giant’s mobile network — although plans for a 5G compatible device have not been announced by Google yet.
Installing 5G throughout the entire country is a massive undertaking and will take a long time. For now, Sprint says it plans to cover 1,000 square miles across nine cities by the end of the summer. If Sprint successfully launches a 5G network in these selected cities, it will be the first phone company to do so.
The race for being first to 5G has been ugly so far. Sprint sued AT&T earlier this year for it’s “5G evolution promotion”, saying the company promised its customers a service they didn’t actually have access to.
5G is also a big part of the impending Sprint/T-mobile merger that was approved by regulators in December. According to the Washington Post, Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claire said that if a merger doesn’t happen, Sprint might have to borrow money to build the 5G network across the U.S and that customers would bear the brunt of the new costs. Those who oppose the merger say the companies would have the power to raise prices anyway, even though T-Mobile has said it won’t raise prices for three years if the merger goes through.
According to The Verge, Sprint’s CEO Michel Combes said a merger would speed up the process for building a 5G network, but he dodged questions about whether or not the company could do it without T-Mobile.
“It’s obvious that by merging the two companies you get the full benefits in terms of accelerating deployment and coverage of network,” Combes said. Earlier, he said the merger would “supercharge our 5G strategy.”
The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are still reviewing the merger, but for now Sprint’s plans to bring 5G to the country are pushing forward.