T-Mobile Successfully Tests Full Suite of 5G SA Tech
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May 4, 2020, 11:42 AM by Rich Brome @rbrome
T-Mobile has successfully tested a variety of 5G SA (stand-alone) technologies on a production network, using hardware from multiple vendors on both the network and device ends. The successful tests pave the way for T-Mobile to launch 5G SA later this year. In a world first, T-Mobile used a commercial 5G smartphone from OnePlus to test a low-band 5G SA data session, a VoNR voice call, and a ViNR video call, all on a production network. In another first, T-Mobile successfully tested 5G SA data between commercial modems from different vendors: MediaTek and Qualcomm. The 5G SA production network uses technology from Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco, and Qualcomm. Current 5G networks are NSA (non-stand-alone), which means they rely heavily on existing 4G networks. Currently, 5G phones connect primarily to 4G networks; data sessions that happen over 5G are orchestrated over 4G. 5G SA removes the dependence on 4G networks, marking the next step in the evolution of 5G. It will also enable lower latency and faster data speeds. VoNR will eventually allow voice calls over 5G networks, removing the last dependence on 4G. But first, an intermediate technology called "Evolved Packet System (EPS) fallback to VoLTE" will allow 5G SA to launch before VoNR is ready. It allows 5G phones to connect primarily to a 5G SA network, but fall back to 4G for voice calls. T-Mobile has successfully tested this technology with a MediaTek chipset. T-Mobile has also tested ViNR, the video-calling technology built into the 5G standard.
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