The arrival of 5G has been an exciting development in the telecoms space, with operators across the globe already rolling out the technology to enhance their services and offerings. But now even greater excitement is building as operators set their sights on true 5G – 5G Standalone (or 5G SA). So, what exactly is 5G SA and what opportunities does it unlock?
5G SA uses the 5G NR (5G New Radio) access network on a 5G network core, unlike non-standalone 5G, which uses a 5G NR access network overlaid on an existing 4G LTE network core.
The widespread use of 5G SA has myriad benefits, including:
- The complete reliance on a 5G core unlocks the benefits of true 5G, namely improved bandwidth and speed of connection for end-users
- Increased ability to scale and enhanced spectral efficiencies
- Ultra-low latency, contributing to an overall more seamless experience for end-users
Critically, 5G SA will act as a key driver in the monetization of 5G, allowing telcos to recoup their investment into the new network by enabling new use cases for the entire sector, including:
- Private networks – private, 5G SA networks benefit from resilience, security, and autonomy.
- IoT – 5G SA is ideal for meeting Critical IoT requirements, providing flexible edge computing, reliability, and supporting Network Data Analytics.
- Network slicing – enabling new revenue opportunities through vertical applications such as smart manufacturing.
With the Ericsson Mobility report highlighting that the 5G SA rollout will double by the end of 2022 and that within 5 years, 5G SA-compatible devices will account for nearly half of all mobile subscriptions, it’s crucial that we understand what its impact is going to be on the industry.
The current global rollout
Across the globe, we’re beginning to see operators rolling out 5G SA to deliver a fully 5G experience to end users. In 2021, Vodafone Germany launched a 5G SA network, with 1000 antennas in 170 cities and municipalities, and plans to deploy a fully-SA network by 2023. Late last year, Telia launched its 5G SA core in Finland, with the service being initially available to selected users in around 20 areas across Finland.
Many other EMEA operators have plans to launch 5G SA networks this year, including Telenor Denmark, Orange, Vodafone Spain and Vodafone UK, with the latter launching a commercial pilot trial of 5G SA last year.
However, despite this development and proliferation of 5G SA, there is still a vast number of operators who are without plans to roll out the technology and are lagging behind. This could be for a variety of reasons, however, the fundamental challenge operators face is integration.
Integration of 5G SA is challenging, and it requires new infrastructure and architecture, rethinking operations, embracing cloud-nativity principles, and a software-centric approach. This entirely new way of thinking and operating could be holding telcos back from investing in 5G SA, however, the benefits it will bring and the use cases it unlocks are set to outweigh the challenges of implementation.
To unlock the true benefits of 5G SA, being cloud-native is key. Moving to a fully cloud-native infrastructure can add additional benefits to the already enhanced service, including flexibility and fast deployment, with lower costs.
5G SA and VoNR
When talking about the rollout of 5G SA, we cannot do so without thinking about voice services. The rollout of 5G SA will give rise to VoNR, seeing less reliance on VoLTE as more and more devices become 5G SA-compatible.
VoNR has many benefits for end-users, including enhanced voice quality and preventing fallback onto 4G networks, which improves the overall quality of call experience.
VoNR will form a key part of operators’ 5G SA journey, but it’s crucial that operators consider the quality and capabilities of their current IMS core solutions, to provide a service that fulfills customer needs and expectations.
At ng-voice, we offer a VoLTE/ VoNR solution that is truly cloud-native and fully containerized. Our cloud-native IMS is the first 100% containerized and Kubernetes-based fully-fledged IMS solution in the market. With the smallest container sizes, a high level of automation, and minimal use of resources, our IMS is scalable, flexible, cost-efficient, and easy to deploy and manage.
To find out more about why our solution is right for you, contact our team at: email@example.com or learn more here.
Share this article via:
Customer Solution Architect
Varun Jain is a Customer Solutions Architect for the Sales Team, he has over 16 years of experience in telecom industry, working for companies like Ericsson India Global services PVT LTD and NOKIA.