T-Mobile launches standalone 5G network ahead of iPhone 12 launch

T-Mobile 5G Coverage Map
T-Mobile 5G Coverage Map (Image credit: T-Mobile)

What you need to know

  • T-Mobile has announced it is launching its standalone 5G network.
  • It's native 5G network will cover 7,500 cities and towns in the US.
  • The move comes only a few months before Apple launches its 5G iPhone.

T-Mobile has announced that it is launching its nationwide standalone architecture 5G network in the United States beginning today. The move comes only a few months before Apple releases its latest lineup of iPhones, which are expected to feature 5G connectivity.

This is some next level 5G. T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) announced today it is the FIRST IN THE WORLD to launch a commercial nationwide standalone architecture (SA) 5G network. The move immediately expands the Un-carrier's 5G footprint — already the nation's largest — to nearly 2,000 additional cities and towns, brings 5G deeper into buildings and sets the stage for future groundbreaking applications. In other words, SA 5G is the future, and T-Mobile is leading the charge to bring it to life.

T-Mobile had been leveraging their existing LTE networks to deploy 5G in select areas, but the new 5G architecture will be native, allowing the company to deliver faster service in more areas. Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile, says that Sprint/T-Mobile merger played a large role in their ability to launch the technology.

"Since Sprint became part of T-Mobile, we've been rapidly combining networks for a supercharged Un-carrier while expanding our nationwide 5G footprint, and today we take a massive step into the future with standalone 5G architecture ... This is where it gets interesting, opening the door for massive innovation in this country — and while the other guys continue to play catch up, we'll keep growing the world's most advanced 5G network."

T-Mobile says that, in areas where SA is turned on, engineers have seen a 30% increase in speeds. With today's launch, its new 5G network will be available in 7,500 cities in the United States.

In the near-term, SA allows T-Mobile to unleash its entire 600 MHz footprint for 5G. With non-standalone network architecture (NSA), 600 MHz 5G is combined with mid-band LTE to access the core network, but without SA the 5G signal only goes as far as mid-band LTE. With today's launch, 600 MHz 5G can go beyond the mid-band signal, covering hundreds of square miles from a single tower and going deeper into buildings than before. Thanks to T-Mobile's ongoing 5G build, and by flipping the switch on SA, the Un-carrier has immediately increased its 5G footprint by 30 percent — now covering 1.3 million square miles in more than 7,500 cities and towns across the country.

Check out the video of the announcement below:

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.