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Sprint's 5G Test Bodes Well for Commercial Launch in 2019

Zacks Equity Research

Sprint Corporation S recently announced that in collaboration with Nokia Corporation NOK and QUALCOMM Incorporated QCOM, it has successfully completed the world's first over-the-air 5G data transmission. It used 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO on its commercial network in San Diego to achieve this unique feat. With this major milestone, Sprint 5G is now out in the field, auguring well for its commercial launch in the first half of 2019.

Notably, the field test encompassed 5G standards on a 3GPP 5G New Radio network with Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum, Nokia’s dual-mode AirScale Massive MIMO radio and a smartphone test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem. The test exhibited a smooth transition of connectivity between Sprint’s 4G LTE Advanced and 5G network.

Sprint is forging ahead to offer its customers the taste of mobile 5G in nine cities coupled with the first 5G smartphone in the country in the first half of 2019. These cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, DC.

Sprint’s 5G build is underway with hundreds of Massive MIMO radios deployed in 2018. The company’s 64T64R Massive MIMO radios support split-mode, which enables it to offer LTE and 5G at the same time. Sprint aims to meet customers’ demand for unlimited data and high-bandwidth applications with Massive MIMO at the foundation of its mobile 5G service.

We believe that Sprint’s strategy of balancing growth and profitability while increasing network investments and adding digital capabilities should drive its financial performance in the upcoming quarters. Also, the company’s multi-year plan to improve cost structure and its "Unlimited for All" plan for customers bode well.

The company’s shares have gained 10.3% on an average against decline of 1.8% for the industry in the past year.

Sprint currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another top-ranked stock in the industry is Cogent Communications Holdings, Inc. CCOI, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.          

Cogent has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 8%.

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