T-Mobile US has announced that it has become the first mobile operator in the world to launch a commercial nationwide Standalone (SA) architecture 5G network. In the near-term, the SA network launch allows T-Mobile to utilise its entire 600MHz footprint for 5G. The move immediately expands the cellco’s 5G footprint by around 30%, or nearly 2,000 additional cities and towns. The expansion means that T-Mobile’s 5G network now covers 1.3 million square miles and more than 7,500 locations. In SA areas, T-Mobile engineers have already seen up to a 40% improvement in latency during testing.
The cellco explains: ‘With Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture, 600MHz 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, 600MHz 5G can go beyond the mid-band signal, covering hundreds of square miles from a single tower and going deeper into buildings than before.’
In terms of vendor support, T-Mobile has partnered with Cisco and Nokia to build its 5G core, and Ericsson and Nokia for its 5G radio infrastructure. OnePlus, Qualcomm Technologies and Samsung have helped ensure existing devices can access SA 5G with a software update, based on compatibility.