5G SA August 2020: Member Report. With the recent announcements of the first launches of 5G standalone networks, 5G has moved into a new era, and so has GSA.
We will no longer be simply tracking ‘5G’ deployments and technologies, but will now be monitoring and documenting the emergence of the next generation of 5G networks, those independent of LTE, as well as the devices that can support them.
Operator trials and launches
5G standalone networks can be deployed in a variety of scenarios: as an overlay for a public 5G non-standalone (NSA) network, as a greenfield 5G deployment for a public network operator without a separate LTE network, or as a private network deployment for an enterprise, utility, education, government or any other organisation requiring its own private campus network.
GSA has identified 47 operators in 24 countries worldwide that have been investing in public 5G SA networks (in the form of trials, planned or actual deployments). In addition, a number of these are testing, piloting or deploying 5G standalone technologies for private networks.
Two operators are understood to have launched public 5G SA networks: T-Mobile in the USA using spectrum at 600 MHz nationwide and RAIN in parts of Cape Town in South Africa to support 5G FWA services. Meanwhile, Telstra in Australia has deployed a 5G core network and has stated it is ready to launch its 5G SA network once a sufficient range of suitable devices is available in the Australian market. In addition to these three, at least nine other operators are understood to be planning initial 5G SA launches during 2020.
Nearly all operators with stated 5G SA investment plans have so far either launched, or plan to launch, 5G non-standalone networks first and to launch 5G standalone networks later.
GSA tracks the availability of 5G devices for end users in its GAMBoD database. With 5G SA networks just beginning to be launched, it is already aware of 153 announced devices with claimed support for 5G standalone, from 39 vendors. Of those, 81 devices are already commercially available from 18 vendors.
Phones make up the large majority (nearly 73%) of the commercially available devices with claimed 5G SA support, followed by indoor and outdoor CPE and modules.
Looking at the 72 devices that have been announced but not yet released commercially, modules account for nearly 42% of the group, with indoor/outdoor CPE and phones following at nearly 24% and nearly 21% respectively.
The overwhelming majority of the announced 5G SA-capable devices support sub-6 GHz spectrum bands. However, only 16 have confirmed mmWave support, and only five of those are understood to be commercially available.
We can expect support for spectrum bands above 6 GHz to increase in the coming months, as mmWave is being promoted as an option for deployment of private 5G networks by regulators in various countries.
Annex for Members: list of operators investing in 5G standalone networks
5G SA August 2020