Massive MIMO in Atlanta: Sprint’s MVP for the Big Game and Beyond

By Heather Campbell, South Region, RF Engineering at SprintJanuary 14, 2019

The last time Atlanta hosted professional football’s biggest game back in 2000, fans were using mobile phones with 2G technology so no one was streaming, browsing or doing any social networking. It was also well before we captured our most important moments through photos and video right from our hand-held devices.

Fast forward 19 years later and Sprint is on the brink of launching mobile 5G service and ready to deliver customers in Atlanta their best wireless experience yet. Just in time for the February 3rd game.

Along with numerous upgrades to existing sites and the installation of hundreds of small cells across the city, we’ve also been rolling out our own MVP – Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology. For the more than one million football fans expected to be in the city, Massive MIMO will significantly increase capacity and provide faster speeds for more people.

We are deploying 64T64R (64 transmit, 64 receive) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) radios that use 128 antennas. That’s a “massive” increase from our earlier 8T8R MIMO units. In fact, our initial tests of Massive MIMO sites show we’re already seeing a 4X average speed and capacity increase and up to 10X peak increase. That means that fans downtown will see exceptional network performance in the highest traffic locations whether they’re inside or outside the stadium, at a nearby museum or hotel, or traveling around the city to one of the many special events planned next month.

In the world’s first independent benchmark study on Massive MIMO, Signals Research Group recently found the benefits of our Dallas-area 64T64R commercial deployment “real and meaningful, generating significant increases in downlink and uplink throughput.” It’s a great indication of what’s to come as we continue to deploy Massive MIMO in more places and then add 5G to the mix.

All of the upgrades we’ve made to our network in Atlanta are here to stay. What’s more, the innovative Massive MIMO units we’ve deployed are capable of simultaneously supporting both 4G LTE and Sprint 5G with a simple software upgrade when we launch our blazing-fast new service in Atlanta in a few months!

We understand how important this event will be to wireless consumers looking to capture and share some of their biggest moments and experiences surrounding the Big Game. As that day approaches, Sprint is prepared to give Atlantans and visitors alike both a great wireless network and experience.

For more on Sprint’s Road to the Big Game, please visit: