Today, T-Mobile announced that it's launching standalone 5G across the United States, and that it's the first of any carrier in the world to launch a nationwide standalone 5G network. It celebrated with 300 drones flying over Lisbon, ND to let people know that "5G is here".
"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."
Existing 5G is non-standalone, meaning that it uses an LTE core to connect. This was a starting point, but the goal has always been to use a 5G core for standalone 5G. T-Mobile says that it's already seen a 40% improvement in latency, and along with lower latency, it should be able to more easily build out faster speeds.
The Un-carrier also said that its 600MHz network should reach even farther on its standalone network. Since it was previously running in combination with mid-band LTE, it was limited by how far that mid-band LTE could travel. The 600MHz band, on its own, can travel much farther than mid-band spectrum, and it can do a much better job at penetrating barriers like walls. T-Mobile says that just by making 5G standalone, that it has increased the footprint of its 5G network by 30%.