• Verizon’s Joe Russo explains why being first with 5G SA wasn’t a priority

    Verizon has talked about moving customers to 5G Standalone (SA), but it doesn't yet have a nationwide 5G SA network. Bottom line: There’s no hurry to get to nationwide 5G SA, especially given Verizon’s vast and existing 4G LTE network.

    “For me, I want to make sure that if we’re deploying a standalone core, it’s really going to benefit customers and it’s not going to be a step back in any way,” he said.

    Read more: https://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/...wasnt-priority

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    This article was originally published in forum thread: Verizon’s Joe Russo explains why being first with 5G SA wasn’t a priority started by @TheRealDanny View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. formercanuck's Avatar
      formercanuck -
      TBH, 5G SA only truly helps if you're completely wanting to shed any dependency on 4G LTE, and you have more of your spectrum allocated to 5G than LTE.
      Eg. On T-Mobile (early deployments) 5G NSA on n71 was a good boost - especially where 5G was strong. Hanging onto a weak 5G NSA signal was detrimental. Midband 5G NSA actually was better, as it would switch to decent 4G LTE and not drag down service. Switching between 5G SA and 4G LTE has its own issues ... 5G might hang on ... too long (low band) before dropping to LTE, and you end up with a lot of flipping between 4G LTE and 5G SA.
      T-Mobile's initial push for 5G SA was because they had 600MHz band almost nationwide which could be deployed and cover up many spots as '5G' on their map for ... bragging rights.
    1. DRC72's Avatar
      DRC72 -
      I think AT&T has the same mindset.
    1. zapjb's Avatar
      zapjb -
      I think it's a good mindset.
    1. ckoch125's Avatar
      ckoch125 -
      AKA verizon is behind and is deflecting by saying this. His interview doesn't make sense since the 4G LTE network has been getting worse and SA would alleviate some of the issues with it since more users would be off of the network.
    1. blkballoon925's Avatar
      blkballoon925 -
      This is definitely a deflection. I believe several carriers have already gone on record saying that SA has proven to be much harder than they anticipated.

      The industry pressure is on, but in my view, Verizon still needs to expand n5 for SA to work well. They're already facing enough of a challenge trying to get ahead of congestion, and there are still a lot of areas with no "Nationwide 5G" or "Ultra Wideband." That's going to be an important prerequisite to SA on Verizon. I'm actually surprised that they enabled the option in the latest iOS carrier profile. Even though a support article claims it's nonfunctional at the moment, it does suggest to me that they will begin allowing those devices to use it sooner rather than later.

      In my experience, a lot of Verizon macros are still B13/66 only, and n5 coverage doesn't appear very ubiquitous. Actually, somebody on Reddit with an SDR claimed a couple days ago that Verizon reverted some n5 sites in the St. Louis area to 10x10 B5, and instead deployed n2 in its place. No DSS on B5 either, just LTE. So far, it's not clear why, but it's possible that B13 congestion is so severe that they felt the need to augment it with B5 again, and replaced it with n2 where they could better afford to take the capacity hit. This is a scenario where having SA, in order to be able to use n5 as a PCC, would have likely helped.

      Aside from languishing n5, in my market, a lot of the C-band antennas were either downtilted or had power reduced earlier this year. At home, I used to get weak C-band coverage and pull over 200 Mbps. But for the past few months, it doesn't cover anywhere in the neighborhood. I have to walk nearly a half mile outside to even pick up "UW" now. I'm not really sure what Verizon's long-term plan is to densify C-band, but it just feels like that was another move in the wrong direction. The most baffling thing about this shrinking Verizon C-band coverage is that AT&T has C-band on a tower right next to Verizon's, and I can pick up their C-band on the first floor.

      Aside from low-band NR improvements and expansion, Verizon sorely needs SA in dense areas. I've been to quite a few places now that are outfitted with a DAS, C-band, and even mmWave, and had my phone drop to "SOS only" because of the sheer number of devices saturating the LTE PCC. Moving from 20x20 B66 (or even worse, 10x10 B13 or 5x5 B2 in my market) to a 100 MHz n77 PCC will open up a ton of capacity for more devices in these types of venues. It has been an issue for well over a year now, and I'm genuinely surprised that Verizon hasn't moved more quickly to address this particular issue. It affects thousands of people every day in stadiums, arenas, and even some festivals with enough people present.

      There's no question that legacy networks, including Verizon and AT&T, will need to employ EPS Fallback for calls. Even when VoNR launches, I don't expect ubiquitous VoNR availability for at least another 3-4 years. I don't think AT&T is as concerned about launching SA as Verizon is, or should be. AT&T's LTE network is very mature and reliable at this point. With many people having devices capable of 5x or greater LTE CA, but only 1-3x NR CA; I think AT&T still prefers maximizing their non-contiguous spectrum holdings by using NSA to build CA combos that bring in 40x40 MHz or greater FDD + 120 MHz of TDD. The move to SA will mean a lot of customers who enable it might only see n5+n77 most of the time, and legacy bands will sit underutilized as more people switch to 5G devices -- specifically, 5G devices on which AT&T enables SA.

      All said, standalone is still worthwhile for any operator. Aside from being a part of the transition away from the legacy LTE/Evolved Packet Core toward a pure 5GC, there's a substantial latency reduction that comes with SA that customers will realize in the form of perceived speed improvements.