An AT&T (NYSE:T) exec said this week that the company plans to launch its stand-alone 5G network later this year, following tests that are going on now.

The company hadn’t given color to its timeline before, but the new details put it roughly on the same time frame for stand-alone 5G as rival Verizon (NYSE:VZ).

The early launches of 5G service from wireless carriers leaned on existing LTE networks (for things like authentication) to accelerate deployment, but all are pursuing stand-alone architectures that reach further but have taken longer to build out.

Verizon plans to move traffic to its new stand-along 5G core sometime in the second half of this year, and fully commercialize in 2021, and comments this week indicate AT&T will do the same.

T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) gave a commercial launch to its stand-alone 5G network in August. But tests have also shown difficulties obtaining a stand-alone 5G signal, LightReading’s Mike Dano notes – T-Mobile looks to be pushing phones into non-standalone mode where it offers reliable 4G LTE connections to ensure speeds aren’t slowed by the stand-alone 5G.

T-Mobile tapped vendors Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), though both Verizon and AT&T haven’t disclosed which vendors are supplying their stand-alone efforts, and Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) says Nokia will supply its stand-alone 5G core.


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