5G standalone gathers momentum

Vodafone has announced the launch of its 5G standalone (5G SA) service in the UK, branded ‘5G Ultra’. The service will initially be available to customers in selected cities, but there are plans to expand across the UK over the coming years. Meanwhile, in the US, Verizon has hailed a milestone for 5G network slicing using its SA core; it has conducted demonstrations of smartphones registered to multiple network slices, aimed at delivering differentiated customer experiences for consumers and enterprises.

The momentum behind 5G SA reflects its importance in 5G value propositions. According to GSMA Intelligence research, as of Q1 2023, the percentage of live 5G networks that are 5G SA or planned to become 5G SA is around 50%. Over the coming years, countries in Europe and North America will likely move to nationwide 5G SA deployments. This should foster a more favourable environment for the adoption of 5G SA services such as network slicing, edge compute and massive IoT, and help realise at scale 5G’s potential across new enterprise and consumer applications.

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