It’s believed that all the major telecom carriers will have launched standalone (SA) 5G at some point in 2021.
Since April 2019, U.S. consumers have been provided a non-standalone (NSA) version of 5G while infrastructures and other considerations have been deployed. NSA is more of a watered-down version of 5G that combines some of 5G’s innovated features with the technology of its predecessor 4G.
Many observers feel that the 5G NR non-standalone mode has made sense for mobile operators looking to deliver better data throughput quickly or to handle urgent LTE congestion. This because it allows these operators to leverage their existing network assets rather than deploying a completely new end-to-end 5G network.
In other words, NSA 5G allows an operator to launch 5G quickly for eMBB to gain thought and market leadership. Additionally, operators can leverage their existing LTE/VoLTE footprint to utilize their LTE installed base and increase capacity.
On the other hand, with the purer 5G ready to launch in all quarters, mobile operators wanting to offer new services to Industry 4.0 and the like will be better served because 5G NR standalone is better aligned to support the new cases and unlock the power of the next-generation mobile technology.
The SA version, which does not rely on LTE, allows an operator to address massive machine-to-machine communications, or ultrareliable low latency IoT. It also provides network slicing functionality.
5G SA technology is expected to attract the most customers, especially those targeting new verticals that want to tap into new 5G use cases requiring ultra-low latency and Edge computing.
5G NR SA will also allow industrial verticals to benefit from the performance advantages claimed by 5G exponents.
3GPP finalized the standalone 5G NR standard in 2018. Standalone 5G NR will have a new end-to-end architecture that will use mm-Waves and sub-GHz frequencies. Standalone 5G NR will also use enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), Ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC) and Massive machine type communications (mMTC) to provide multi-gigabit data rates with improved efficiency and lower costs.
Most industry experts believe the transition to SA 5G is going to depend largely on the spectrum assets that each operator has. For example, an operator with a significant amount of lower-band spectrum that can be dedicated to 5G would have an easier time going to SA for coverage reasons.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers 5G Wireless Networks Training | The Fundamentals, a 2-day course that covers the fundamentals of the 5G mobile communication system, standardized by 3rd Generation Partnership Project, ITU-T and others bodies.
Additionally, Tonex also offers 20 more cutting edge 5G Wireless courses with titles like:
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.