The company hadn’t given color to its timeline before, but the new details put it roughly on the same time frame for stand-alone 5G as rival Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
The early launches of 5G service from wireless carriers leaned on existing LTE networks (for things like authentication) to accelerate deployment, but all are pursuing stand-alone architectures that reach further but have taken longer to build out.
Verizon plans to move traffic to its new stand-along 5G core sometime in the second half of this year, and fully commercialize in 2021, and comments this week indicate AT&T will do the same.
T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) gave a commercial launch to its stand-alone 5G network in August. But tests have also shown difficulties obtaining a stand-alone 5G signal, LightReading’s Mike Dano notes – T-Mobile looks to be pushing phones into non-standalone mode where it offers reliable 4G LTE connections to ensure speeds aren’t slowed by the stand-alone 5G.
T-Mobile tapped vendors Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), though both Verizon and AT&T haven’t disclosed which vendors are supplying their stand-alone efforts, and Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) says Nokia will supply its stand-alone 5G core.