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(Pocket-lint) - Sprint has launched its 5G network in the US, starting with a handful of US cities.

The 5G network is live in the following areas first: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City. It's supposed to come to more cities, including Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC, in the first half of the year. In New York, Sprint said we can expect coverage in Midtown and lower Manhattan. In total, Sprint said it’ll cover more than 1,000 square miles in all nine cities.

“This is probably going to be the largest initial 5G launch in terms of coverage and footprint,” Sprint CTO John Saw told the media on Thursday. In Dallas, for instance, Sprint’s 5G footprint will blanket 575 square miles and roughly 1.6 million people. “This is just the beginning,” he added.

As the race to 5G kicks off, it's been interesting to see Sprint focus on coverage, while Verizon and AT&T focus on other aspects, like doubling-down on millimeter-wave technology, which has so-so coverage but offers data speeds that exceed 1Gbps. From what we've heard, Verizon's 5G coverage works best if you're near its 5G node. Indoor coverage is spotty, with LTE-level speeds.

Sprint has said it's using a  “split mode” so that devices can use 5G NR and LTE Advanced for premium download speeds and consistent coverage. As a result, it's forgoing the millimeter-wave tech that Verizon and AT&T prefer, and instead, Sprint is working on top of its mid-band 2.5GHz wireless spectrum, with antennas throughout 5G markets splitting LTE and 5G resources.

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Sprint is promising it will cover about 11.5 million people once it completes the rollout, and they'll get speeds up to five-times faster than LTE. You can expect more than 100Mbps when you’re on the go, though if you want high peak speeds, it's best you stay in one place.

Keep in mind the carrier's first two 5G-compatible devices, the LG V50 and the HTC 5G Hub, go on sale from 31 May.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 30 May 2019.