Google and Sprint have announced in a press release that Google Fi customers will get 5G. They will get it through the existing partnership service with Sprint. The customers will also use the advanced 5G infrastructure after its availability. Google Fi already leases telecom networks from Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S Cellular. All the above 3 will provide service to its customers as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). So, the tech giant’s Fi will pick one of these to secure 5G functionality for its customers.
It is important that an MVNO has struck a deal that presumably gets them 5G at the same time as a telecom’s primary customers. The press release has indicated that Sprint’s 5G network is launching in the first half of 2019. Google Fi customers with Sprint 5G compatible ‘Designed for Fi’ phones in a 5G coverage area will be automatically connected to the network.
This means only Designed for Fi phones will work with Sprint’s network, in spite of opening Fi up to phones from Apple, Samsung and OnePlus. So, they’ll need to be Sprint 5G compatible too. 5G network of Sprint will start in 9 cities in the first half of the year. It will cover downtown metropolitan areas in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. Google Fi users will get 5G in these areas and automatically switch to Wi-Fi or LTE networks when moving between them.
Obviously, they will need the right phone to use 5G at all and they will also need a 5G coverage zone, naturally. These zones might be smaller than you’re used to with LTE. The Verge pointed out that Sprint isn’t launching its 5G service on millimeter wave as it lacks licenses to broadcast on the airwaves. They are opting for the 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum, which is faster than LTE but doesn’t reach too far. Sprint will rely on its Massive MIMO radio tech, which it started rolling out last year.