T-Mobile one-ups other carriers by launching first nationwide standalone 5G network

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray announces 5G
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray announces 5G (Image credit: @NevilleRay)

What you need to know

  • T-Mobile today boasted of being the first in the world to launch a nationwide standalone 5G network.
  • The bump to a standalone architecture improves the network's coverage and performance indoors.
  • According to T-Mobile, the upgrade expands coverage by 30% to include 2,000 more cities across the U.S.

Following up on its promise of dragging the industry forward, kicking and screaming, T-Mobile today announced a major upgrade to its nationwide 5G network by turning on its standalone architecture.

The upgrade, which T-Mobile boasts makes it the first in the world, expands the Un-carrier's 5G coverage by up to 30%, covering 2,000 more cities for a total of 7,500 cities and towns across 1.3 million square miles, reaching 250 million people across the U.S.

Standalone here implies the 5G network can operate independently of the company's 4G LTE network, which is how other carriers' implementation of 5G works — for now, at least. The carrier explained the difference in its announcement as follows:

With non-standalone network architecture (NSA), 600 MHz 5G is combined with mid-band LTE to access the core network, but without SA the 5G signal only goes as far as mid-band LTE. With today's launch, 600 MHz 5G can go beyond the mid-band signal, covering hundreds of square miles from a single tower and going deeper into buildings than before.

To celebrate the occasion, T-Mobile made its way to Lisbon, North Carolina to show off the reach of its 5G network, as well as the low latency and potential applications it can enable via a drone show.

The Magenta giant ended the post by throwing some shade at its competition: "In what Verizon and AT&T likely refer to as 'the good old days,' they led in coverage and weren't shy in telling the world about it. Oh, how times have changed. It's a new era in wireless, and T-Mobile holds the 5G coverage crown."

Thanks to the boost, its network, which was already the largest, is now two times bigger than AT&T's and 10,000 bigger than Verizon's, the Un-carrier claimed.

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