Ericsson, Sprint kick off next-gen 5G driven sporting experience

Ericsson and Sprint are giving sports enthusiasts a front-row seat for exciting new changes coming into play when 5G enters the sporting experience today at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Field.

The companies are streaming ultra-high definition 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) video streams over a live 5G wireless signal using 400 MHz of spectrum, including a live 4K UHD camera stream from the Sprint Fan Zone.

John Saw, Chief Technology Officer, Sprint, says: “Achieving speeds up to 4 Gbps far outside the lab environment, in the parking lot of Lincoln Financial Field and in the midst of thousands of visitors, is exciting. It gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate how far we have come technologically, and why 5G will matter to fans.”

Visitors to the Sprint Fan Zone can challenge their friends with a “connected” soccer ball delivering stats while live 4K UHD video of the kick streams over 5G to monitors, allowing participants to see themselves and their results. Going forward, both the game ball and the players could be connected so that fans could see real-time information and analytics about the speed, rotation and height of the ball. Commentary will also become more insightful, with new stats and graphical analytics on TV.

Glenn Laxdal, Head of Technology and Strategy, Ericsson North America, says: “5G will make possible a wider range of services than any network has done before, and sporting events are a great way to show this off. We are happy to help Sprint inspire fans with this peek into the 5G future, especially given our history together of bringing technology upgrades that improve the consumer experience. We look forward to Sprint’s evolution to 5G, particularly given their unique spectrum position and technology foundation.”

Other future changes coming to the fan experience with 5G connectivity include the ability to experience matches from new vantage points, using phones to switch between different 360-degree, ultra-high definition virtual reality cameras filming all around the stadium. 5G will deliver enough capacity to the stadium for fans to stream high-quality video and share the views from their seats with others at the same match.

5G standardization will not be finalized for a few years, but the technology has already progressed far enough to provide gigabit speeds in real-world environments. Ericsson is leading the 5G market, both in 5G technology development demonstrations such as MIMO, beamforming, beam tracking and network slicing, and in driving the ecosystem development that is required to ensure 5G will fulfill its promise across all industries.

In an operator survey, Ericsson found that 87% of operators surveyed said that 5G will be a real game-changer and 86% agreed that 5G enables a wide range of services that no other network has done before.