T-Mobile announced today it is the first in the world to launch a commercial nationwide standalone architecture (SA) 5G network. The move immediately expands the Un-carrier’s 5G footprint — already the nation’s largest — to nearly 2,000 additional cities and towns, brings 5G deeper into buildings and sets the stage for future groundbreaking applications. In other words, SA 5G is the future, and T-Mobile is leading the charge to bring it to life.
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 Un-carrier plans similar celebrations in the future.
“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.”
Taking 5G Next-Level
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 is just 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 today’s 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. Thanks to T-Mobile’s ongoing 5G build, and by flipping the switch on SA, the Un-carrier has immediately increased its 5G footprint by 30 percent — now covering 1.3 million square miles in more than 7,500 cities and towns across the country.