3GPP together with a large group of mobile operators, vendors and other industry bodies on Thursday announced the official approval for the standalone(SA) version of 5G standard, marking an important step towards the commercialization of mobile 5G.
This follows the Non-Standalone (NSA) version released in December last year which allows 5G deployment to leverage 4G LTE infrastructure for non-data functions such as communication with the cell towers and servers, with 5G-enabled handsets connecting to 5G frequencies only for data throughput. This saw 4G LTE becoming a base for the deployment of 5G services.
The completion of SA specifications which complements the NSA specifications, not only gives 5G NR the ability of independent deployment, but also brings a brand new end-to-end network architecture. This provides a solid basis to introduce innovative new solutions based on reduced latency and Network Slicing which will bring the full benefits of 5G to our industrial customers, according to the announcement.
Alex Choi, SVP Research and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, wrote in a blog that, "With SA, we now look forward to continuing our cross-industry collaboration to accelerate the 5G ecosystem and solution development, and together with our vertical industry customers explore new business opportunities for automotive, energy, Industry 4.0 and other sectors."