T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) launches a commercial nationwide standalone architecture (SA) 5G network in the United States. To celebrate the milestone and the arrival of 5G for the first time in hundreds of small towns across America, T-Mobile used drones to light up the sky over Lisbon, ND, letting people in the small town know ‘5G is here’. The carrier plans similar celebrations in the future.
With this move, T-Mobile is expanding 5G coverage significantly, now covering nearly 250 million people in more than 7,500 cities and towns across 1.3 million square miles. Why it matters? According to T-Mobile, standalone architecture is the future of wireless connectivity. It would bring 5G closer to reaching its true potential with faster speeds, lower latency and massive connectivity. It would pave the way for new applications and supercharge things like mobile augmented and virtual reality, cloud gaming, real-time translation and much more.
“Since Sprint became part of T-Mobile, we’ve been rapidly combining networks for a supercharged Un-carrier while expanding our nationwide 5G footprint, and today we take a massive step into the future with standalone 5G architecture,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “This is where it gets interesting, opening the door for massive innovation in this country – and while the other guys continue to play catch up, we’ll keep growing the world’s most advanced 5G network.”
LTE Core Networks
The first phase of 5G has focused on delivering new 5G radio capabilities while leveraging existing LTE core networks and has been key in accelerating 5G deployment. Now T-Mobile’s new 5G core is coming to life, which in the future can unlock blazing fast speeds in more places, real-time responses and massive connectivity.
SA, especially when coupled with core network slicing in the future, will lead to an environment where transformative applications are made possible – things like connected self-driving vehicles, supercharged IoT, real-time translation. And things we haven’t even dreamed of yet. In SA areas, T-Mobile engineers have already seen up to a 40% improvement in latency during testing, and that would just be the beginning of what can be done with Standalone 5G.
In the near-term, SA allows T-Mobile to unleash its entire 600 MHz footprint for 5G. With non-standalone network architecture (NSA), 600 MHz 5G is combined with mid-band LTE to access the core network, but without SA the 5G signal only goes as far as mid-band LTE. With the current launch, 600 MHz 5G can go beyond the mid-band signal, covering hundreds of square miles from a single tower and going deeper into buildings than before.