T-Mobile switches on its standalone 5G network in thousands of cities

Unlike other 5G networks, it's not built on top of LTE infrastructure.

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Kris Holt
August 4, 2020 1:31 PM
T-Mobile used 300 drones to light up the sky over Lisbon, N.D., celebrating the expansion of its 5G network to hundreds of small towns across America on Sunday Aug. 02 in Lisbon, N.D. (Dan Koeck/AP Images for T-Mobile)
AP Images for T-Mobile

T-Mobile has switched on the first standalone nationwide 5G network in the US. So far in building out their 5G networks, other carriers have done so on top of LTE infrastructure, but this isn’t dependent on existing tech.

With this rollout, T-Mobile says its 5G network is now 30 percent larger and is available in 2,000 more towns and cities across the US. The network currently covers 1.3 million square miles across more than 7,500 cities and towns. The company claims its engineers have seen up to 40 percent improvement in latency during tests in standalone 5G areas.

The expansion is a big step towards broader 5G adoption throughout the country — you’ll probably want to be able to connect to a 5G network when you pick up a 5G-ready phone, after all. T-Mobile says it’s working with OnePlus, Qualcomm and Samsung to make sure compatible devices can access the standalone 5G network after a software update.

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“Since Sprint became part of T-Mobile, we’ve been rapidly combining networks for a supercharged Un-carrier while expanding our nationwide 5G footprint, and today we take a massive step into the future with standalone 5G architecture,” Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s president of technology, said in a press release. “This is where it gets interesting, opening the door for massive innovation in this country — and while the other guys continue to play catch up, we’ll keep growing the world’s most advanced 5G network.”

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