T-Mobile launched Voice over 5G (VoNR) in the US, allowing customers to make and receive voice calls over a 5G connection.
The service is only available in two cities – Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah – but wider deployment of the technology will increase the effectiveness of next-generation networks and reduce reliance on 4G.
If voice traffic can be carried over a standalone 5G (5G SA) network instead of LTE, devices will not need to switch network technologies during calls, meaning applications can benefit from 5G without interruption.
Broadband 5G FWA
VoNR fulfills the full potential of 5G SA because there is no need for operators to maintain a parallel LTE radio network. While 4G and 5G are expected to coexist for some time, operators will be able to free up network resources and spectrum for next-generation technologies.
The same logic was applied when operators launched Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology a decade ago. VoLTE added the ability to carry 4G voice traffic, improving quality and reducing reliance on 3G.
With VoNR, T-Mobile says customers won’t notice anything different other than that calls can connect faster than 4G.
“T-Mobile is setting the pace for providers around the world as we drive the industry forward – now starting to roll out another critical service over 5G,” said Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile.
“5G is already driving new levels of engagement, transforming the way our customers use their smartphones and bringing unprecedented connectivity to areas that desperately need it. And it will only get better thanks to the amazing team at T-Mobile and our partners who are relentlessly innovating and improving 5G capabilities every day.”
Most early 5G networks relied on non-standalone 5G (5G NSA), which uses new radio technologies but still relies on the underlying 4G core.
5G SA is powered by a new cloud-based virtual core that allows data to be processed closer to the point of collection and enables features like network slicing. This enables guaranteed speeds, improved reliability and ultra-low latency – qualities that will be critical to delivering the most revolutionary 5G applications.