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C Spire Ramps Up 5G Testing to Develop Next-Generation Network

Ridgeland, Miss. - (July 19, 2016) – C Spire is ramping up its efforts to develop and test emerging 5G fixed and mobile technologies that promise to support faster speeds, lower latency and exponentially more Internet-connected devices in its continuing efforts to stay ahead of the needs of tech-hungry consumers and businesses.

The diversified telecom and technology service firm is one of only a handful of U.S. telecommunications operators with fiber optic infrastructure and 28 GHz spectrum assets working to make the next generation of ultra-fast digital connectivity a reality.

Last week, C Spire became the first company to successfully demonstrate a 5G fixed wireless solution in Mississippi using Nokia equipment with a direct connection to its fiber-based commercial television service.

The test delivered C Spire Fiber consumer television content, including ultra-high definition resolution video, with speeds up to 2.2 Gigabits per second (Gbps) and ultra-low latency below 1.4 milliseconds over the 5G wireless link. “This is the kind of real-world application that will help change forever how we live, work and play,” said C Spire CTO Stephen Bye.

“We’re excited to collaborate with C Spire as we work together to bring real-world 5G technology solutions to market, and evolve its 4G LTE networks to provide a seamless, integrated end-to-end network for its customers. Nokia continues to demonstrate its leadership position in 5G, underscoring its commitment to advancing 5G technology and making 5G a commercial reality. We have been a close partner with C Spire for many years in Mississippi, and we look forward to the continued collaboration on testing and standardization of 5G,” said Ricky Corker, Executive Vice President and Head of North America Market for Nokia.

C Spire plans more real-world trials using candidate 5G technologies and its 28 GHz spectrum later this year and by the middle of next year. The tests and market trials are cooperative efforts with industry partners to help spur the timely development of 5G standards in the coming years.

In addition to operating the nation’s sixth largest wireless communications unit, the company has deployed consumer Fiber-to-the-Home services in several Mississippi markets since 2013 and offers businesses a wide range of voice, data and cloud services through a purpose-built $23 million state-of-the-art commercial data center serving the southeastern region of the U.S.

“We’re working aggressively to bring ultra-fast Internet speeds to our customers and we know 5G will play a role in those efforts,” Bye said. “This is the engine that will power the 21st century digital economy.”

Bye said C Spire has invested millions of dollars in its network and has all the assets and capabilities to take advantage of the emerging 5G technology, including 28 GHz spectrum, hundreds of company-owned cell sites and thousands of miles of fiber optic network infrastructure connecting businesses and residential customers.

“A widely supported 5G ecosystem is critical to achieve the necessary economies of scale to unlock the promise of this technology,” Bye said. “Through testing, research, standards advocacy and market trials, we’re working to ensure our customers will have the full benefit of this capability as it matures and becomes available.”

5G is expected to enhance and compliment the rapidly growing 4G Internet of Things (IoT)-based economy in Mississippi, the U.S. and other parts of the world, Bye said. “We see a future where the Internet and access to the network is front and center for everything we do in our professional and personal lives.”

For the last 20 years, that access has mostly been limited to computers, smartphones and tables, but in the last few years, it has evolved to encompass virtually the entire U.S. economy with billions of Internet-connected sensors being built into appliances, smart homes, cars, drones, security systems, toys, health monitors, robots, door locks and wearables from smart watches to dog collars.

“There’s a growing trend to use Internet-enabled sensors and chips in a broad swath of business sectors, including industrials like the farm sector, auto manufacturing, factory robots, oil rigs that send data back and forth to each other, jet engines that collect information about fuel efficiency, and even healthcare with telehealth remote patient monitoring, skin patch monitors for babies and fitness wearables for adults,” Bye said. New research from Gartner estimates that the number of network devices will skyrocket from 6 billion in 2016 to 25 billion by the end of 2020.

While C Spire is working on next-generation network solutions, the company is continuing to invest and grow its 4G LTE network to help boost speeds and provide better overall coverage for consumers. The company’s wireless unit has added maximum-range LTE to over 560 cell sites, which improves coverage over longer distances and inside offices, commercial buildings and homes.

Bye said C Spire is actively upgrading and “densifying” its network throughout the company’s Mississippi footprint, especially in rural areas and along major traffic corridors in central, northern and southwestern parts of the state, the Delta and the Gulf Coast.

C Spire remains committed to technology innovation and continuous improvement even as it offers new products and expands into new lines of telecommunications and technology services, including super high-speed broadband Internet for consumers and enterprise-grade data, dedicated Internet access and cloud services for businesses.

“We offer the only national 4G LTE network inspired by the customers we serve,” Bye said. “And just like our deep, local roots, our network is getting bigger, faster, stronger and denser every day. At C Spire, we’re never content with a good network. Our customers deserve a great network and we’re committed to continuously innovating and perfecting all aspects of their experience.”

About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class customer service and a superior comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, high-speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and businesses with a personal focus. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.