T-Mobile achieved significant 5G firsts with Ericsson, ecosystem partners

T-Mobile partners with industry leaders, including Ericsson to achieve several important world's first milestones for standalone architecture (SA) 5G.


BELLEVUE, Wash. – May 7, 2020 – As promised, the Un-carrier simply WILL NOT STOP. T-Mobile US, Inc. just announced several important world’s first milestones for standalone architecture (SA) 5G. These achievements, using the Un-carrier’s newly built 5G core, bring T-Mobile closer to taking its nationwide 5G network to the next level. In tech terms, SA 5G will eliminate the need for a mid-band LTE anchor, cutting out some of the limitations experienced today. Simply stated, it’s the future of 5G. SA will allow 5G to reach its full potential by increasing coverage and laying a foundation for game-changing applications that can utilize blazing fast speeds, real-time responses and massive connectivity.

Inventing the future takes a village, so T-Mobile partnered closely with leaders across the industry to notch several “world-first” achievements:

  • The first SA 5G data session between commercial modems from two suppliers on a production network with Cisco, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
  • The first low-band SA 5G voice call using Evolved Packet System (EPS) fallback to VoLTE with Cisco, Ericsson, MediaTek and Nokia. This enables high quality voice services utilizing VoLTE in the SA architecture while the industry is fully developing voice over new radio (VoNR) 5G technology.
  • The first low-band VoNR call on a production network with Cisco, Ericsson, MediaTek, and Nokia. VoNR allows for voice calls to run over 5G.
  • The first video over new radio (ViNR) call on a production network with Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies. ViNR allows for high quality video calls to run natively, instead of an Over the Top (OTT) data service. In other words – no app needed!
  • Finally – several 5G firsts with a commercial smartphone on a production network, including the first low-band SA 5G data session, first call with EPS fallback, and first VoNR & ViNR calls. These were pulled off alongside Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, OnePlus and Qualcomm Technologies.

All of these milestones were achieved with T-Mobile’s new multi-vendor 5G production core on the Un-carrier’s commercial nationwide 5G network, and they pave the way for the Un-carrier’s launch of standalone 5G later this year. During the tests, standalone and non-standalone (NSA) 5G devices were operating with active sessions at the same time in the same cell. And importantly, all of T-Mobile’s recent tests were conducted with unflinching standards for employee and partner safety and health.

Standalone is the next evolution of 5G network architecture. Current 5G networks are built on non-standalone network architecture, meaning 5G signals rely on underlying mid-band LTE and leverage the LTE core. This means 5G devices can connect to 5G and LTE simultaneously, delivering better mobile broadband speeds and performance than LTE, but the full promise of 5G can’t be unlocked. With standalone 5G, the LTE core is no longer required and the full power of the next generation SA core can be unleashed. This will enable 5G to reach its true future potential with low latency, higher speeds and massive connectivity, making a world of amazing new services and applications possible.

“Powerful and reliable wireless networks are more important than ever, and these milestones mark a huge step forward for the entire wireless ecosystem,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “Standalone 5G, paired with the broad and deep network we’re building by combining the assets of T-Mobile and Sprint, will accelerate 5G adoption and services and transform wireless!”

“T-Mobile continues to bring 5G into focus, making huge strides globally to signify exactly how things can work with the right vision, people and technology in place,” said Jonathan Davidson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mass Scale Infrastructure Group, Cisco. “Our work together on these series of firsts for standalone 5G to support both voice and video calls demonstrates our industry leadership and commitment to innovation. Our converged approach to 4G and 5G evolved packet core will help T-Mobile to enable mobile edge and low latency use cases with control and user plane separation (CUPS) while improving data center space, reduced power consumption and lower operational costs.”

“With 5G networks rolling out across the globe, we’re now stepping up to the next level: preparing the world for standalone 5G,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson. “Using Ericsson commercial products together with T-Mobile and our ecosystem partners, we have demonstrated the potential of standalone 5G on low bands. We have achieved the latest technology milestones in a concerted effort that advances 5G technology.”

“MediaTek has played a key role in the interoperability development and testing of standalone 5G to achieve these milestones with T-Mobile and other industry leaders. Using MediaTek-powered 5G devices to field test its network, we are helping to drive the full potential of 5G standalone coverage in the U.S.,” said JS Pan, GM of Wireless Communication Systems and Partnerships at MediaTek. “We will continue to collaborate with T-Mobile to make 5G available and affordable to US consumers.”

“The breadth of 5G is truly becoming a reality at a time when connectivity is so important,” said Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia. “We’re proud to bring our end-to-end 5G solutions to T-Mobile’s nationwide RAN network and 5G Standalone core. These inherent cloud-native features and micro-service capabilities will enable exciting new use cases for real-time latency and massive connectivity.”

“OnePlus is proud to be the first global smartphone brand to connect to T-Mobile’s standalone 5G network. This is an important milestone for the industry, as leaders in 5G research and development work together to create the next generation of telecommunications technology,” said Pete Lau, Founder and CEO of OnePlus. “5G is a top priority in OnePlus’ long-term business strategy. Working together with partners like T-Mobile, we look forward to connecting more people around the world through a faster and smoother 5G experience.”

“We share T-Mobile’s and OnePlus’ passion to drive 5G forward, delivering exciting new experiences for consumers and increased performance and cost-effectiveness for businesses across the United States,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 5G Modem-RF Systems are at the heart of the first devices supporting T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network and the evolution towards 5G standalone mode which will help create 5G-enabled experiences and transform how the world connects, computes and communicates.”

For more information about T-Mobile’s 5G vision, visit: www.t-mobile.com/5g.