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BT, the British Telecommunications Behemoth, Anticipates the rollout of 5G Standalone

BT’s chief technology officer, Howard Watson, revealed to CNBC that the telecommunications group aims to activate its standalone 5G network, often dubbed “true” 5G, later this year. This initiative follows a trial conducted by the company in collaboration with Swedish telco infrastructure firm Ericsson and chipmaking giant Qualcomm, showcasing network “slicing,” a crucial configuration for enabling standalone 5G. Unlike current 5G networks, standalone 5G operates independently without relying on a 4G core network as an anchor, promising significantly reduced latency. Watson emphasized that BT is diligently working to establish the necessary ecosystem, including compatible devices, for a successful rollout. He highlighted the company’s efforts to ensure compatibility with existing 5G devices, indicating readiness to launch the standalone 5G network once there’s sufficient critical mass and network slicing capabilities. This launch is anticipated to occur later this year, as affirmed by Watson during an interview at the Mobile World Congress tech trade show in Barcelona.

5G standalone offers users a dedicated portion of the network, complete with specific bandwidth and latency commitments. Each network slice functions as a distinct segment of the network tailored to meet the needs of a particular application.

For instance, gamers requiring ultra-low latency for competitive online play can leverage 5G standalone to achieve response times of nine to 10 milliseconds, akin to those of a direct home connection.

Latency is critical for gamers as it directly impacts response times during gameplay. Higher latency results in increased lag, leading to less fluid gameplay.

Watson emphasized the need for flexibility, suggesting potential pricing models that allow users to access low latency during specified time windows, such as from 6pm to 8pm.

Rather than promoting “standalone” as a standalone product, BT aims to integrate it seamlessly into customer offerings to enhance user experience.

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