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Gigabit LTE could be arriving for Sprint customers following the network's debut

Why it matters to you

We're not quite ready for 5G yet, but Gigabit LTE is here -- at least, it's starting to get really close for Sprint customers.

Here it comes, friends: Gigabit Class LTE.

On Wednesday, Sprint and Qualcomm showed off the “first U.S. deployment of Gigabit Class LTE live on a commercial network with a forthcoming flagship premium tier smartphone.” That is to say, Sprint demonstrated its gigabit capabilities in the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans using 4×4 MIMO, 256-QAM, and three-carrier aggregation in order to reach speeds of 600 Mbps on a Motorola prototype device during an NBA game.

“The lightning speeds of Gigabit Class LTE in the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform with X16 LTE can open up new applications and deliver new experiences to your mobile devices,” said Mike Finley, senior vice president and president of Qualcomm North America. “We are proud to work together with Sprint to bring Gigabit Class LTE to the United States on a live commercial network for the first time, helping to ensure consumers have a superior connectivity experience. This is yet another step in accelerating global adoption of Gigabit Class LTE, enabling us to see a glimpse of our 5G future.”

MoreT-Mobile and Ericsson hope to ditch 2G/3G, switch to gigabit LTE by 2019

There has been plenty of talk about Gigabit Class LTE already, with other major carriers also looking to make the switch to this newfangled network in the near future. But it looks as though Sprint is getting ahead of the game, noting that it has plans to employ its 2.5 GHz spectrum to offer up the faster service in high-traffic locations across the U.S. This, the company says, will aid in its strategy of building a solid 5G foundation.

“Only Sprint has enough licensed spectrum to deliver this level of capacity and performance in major markets across the country,” Sprint Chief Technical Officer John Saw said. “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.”

So look out, Sprint customers. You could soon be getting fast, and we mean really fast, network speeds.