Sprint says new 5G network will boost KC metro economy, drive innovation

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Sprint’s new 5G network will roll out in May in Kansas City and eight other U.S. cities, and company officials say the blazing fast connection speeds will mean much more than just a "faster phone."

“I think with 5G in Kansas City, we’re going to be a magnet to attract a lot of innovation,” said John Saw, Sprint’s chief technology officer.

Saw foresees the network as being a game-changer for everything from private business innovation and driverless cars to public infrastructure.

“It will enable things like remote surgery where the surgeon is not even in the same country,” Saw said.

Sprint officials gave a demonstration of what 5G can do at a new Experience Center at the company’s Overland Park headquarters.

“Even if it’s just somebody watching YouTube,” Sprint’s Rick Jones said at Wednesday’s exhibit, “nobody likes to see the swirly spin, right? 5G is just going to blow that away. It’s so hard to explain where we’re going to be able to go.”

Sprint customers will need to buy purchase a 5G-enabled phone when the service rolls out in May. This week, competitor Verizon announced its 5G service will be rolling out in a handful of U.S. cities in April.

Saw believes Sprint’s 5G service will be superior.

“The competition is using a different type of spectrum that has higher capacity but doesn’t propagate as far,” Saw said.

The Sprint coverage area in Kansas City will cover 100 square miles, extending from Sprint headquarters in Overland Park to downtown Kansas City.

Ryan Weber, president of the KC Tech Council, agrees the metro economy will see a boost in innovation and new business start-ups because of the 5G network.

Weber also offered one more example of how users will notice the difference with 5G -- namely anyone who’s struggled to get a good phone connection at places like Arrowhead Stadium.

“Let’s say you’re at a Chiefs game and you want to FaceTime your wife back at home, and you want to point to the game,” Weber explained. "She’ll watch the game in real time, and on the TV it will be delayed multiple seconds.”

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