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Will Sprint’s HPUE roll-out really help out on 2.5GHz?

By Jules Wang December 13, 2016, 6:51 pm

HPUE? No, Sprint didn’t sneeze.

The carrier announced that the acronym stands for “High Performance User Equipment” and that the 3GPP — the industry group that self-determines standards for cellular technologies — has certified it as a new, more capable power level for end-user products. Those are phones to you and me.

The technology will boost future phones’ abilities to hold onto a Band 41 LTE signal, something unique to Sprint in the US and to China Mobile as well. The Now Network indicates that its 2.5GHz footprint will effectively expand by 30 percent once new devices from Samsung and other OEMs tide in next year.

Here’s the operative thing about Band 41: while the speeds are good if you can get them, as its wavelengths come close to the original Wi-Fi band (2.4GHz), you’ll know that reception can prove tricky at times, especially indoors.

But there has been a concern about boosting phones’ reception to the frequency because the 3GPP wanted Band 41 usage to compatible with legacy tech like GSM and UMTS (even though it isn’t associated with any 3GPP legacy tech) and because of regulatory concerns of SAR or the radiation impact on humans.

A revision in the rules regarding Band 41 takes into account, though, the fact that its technology doesn’t require 3GPP legacy tagback and that the specific LTE delivery system that it uses is more SAR-friendly.

HPUE specification proposes that users should see an average 3dBm increase in performance on this level.

Sprint needs to pull the stops for Band 41 as it holds 160MHz of its spectrum and is using 60MHz of it for LTE Plus aggregation. That compares to a total of 10MHz on the lower end of the frequency dial. It plans on implementing advanced QAM and MIMO (see our article on T-Mobile’s tech deployment for more) technologies to help its 2.5GHz offerings thrive.

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