T-Mobile and Ericsson conduct the US’ first standalone 5G data session

T-Mobile and Ericsson have conducted the first standalone 5G data session in the United States.

Existing 5G networks are not standalone and require a simultaneous connection to an LTE network. While a non-standalone architecture still offers better speeds and performance than just LTE, a standalone architecture makes sense for some new enterprise 5G services such as smart cities.

T-Mobile used Ericsson’s AIR 6488 radio and Baseband 6630. These products, from Ericsson’s Radio System portfolio, can become standalone with just a software update.

According to Ericsson, Standalone New Radio (SA NR) – coupled with cloud-native 5G Core – will help to power exciting new applications such as mobile VR, cloud gaming, and connected cars. Such applications require almost real-time responses and reliable connectivity.

“This major 5G breakthrough is another example of how the T-Mobile engineering team continues to innovate and drive the entire industry forward. I could not be more proud of them,” said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray in a statement.

“5G brings a new era in wireless, and if our merger with Sprint is approved, the New T-Mobile will bring together the resources and vision necessary to ensure America has a network that’s second to none.”

T-Mobile has not specified what spectrum it used for the standalone 5G data session, but a spokesperson has confirmed it was sub-6GHz.

As part of concessions to win the Department of Justice’s approval for the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger, Sprint will divest its prepaid business to Dish. Dish will have access to T-Mobile’s network through an MVNO arrangement for seven years while Dish builds out its own 5G standalone network.

T-Mobile says it plans to introduce standalone 5G in 2020. All of today’s 5G networks in the US are currently not standalone.

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