US cellular SA 5G basic tests

US cellular SA 5G basic tests

UScellor has entered the beta phase of its 5G standalone (SA) core, which CTO Mike Irizarry said Mobile world live (MWL) was the first step toward introducing network slicing for fixed wireless access (FWA) home Internet service.

Irizarry said the company has developed the SA 5G core over several years, and testing is a prelude to full deployment.

He explained that the core will enable UScello to offer a network segment to FWA customers, another segment to 5G mobile users and a third to enterprises.

“I can create those distinct segments, or logical networks, on top of my physical network and fine-tune the experience to deliver the best experience for each of those customers and optimize delivery, which will optimize the cost of providing these services to these unique customers.”

Irizarry said the company was preparing to activate a network chip on the SA 5G core, which will “most likely” be used for its home internet service.

“If it goes well and provides us with all these benefits, we will come back and do the same for mobile customers.”

The CTO noted that creating a cloud-native software-based SA 5G core was a “major shift” from the 4G network currently used for 5G service.

UScello chose Nokia to build its SA 5G core, but Irizarry noted that it has also deployed base stations from Ericsson and Samsung.

“It all takes a lot of work.”

“It takes time to make sure everything works well together so the customer doesn’t have a bad experience.”

While the SA 5G core will enable new revenue from services including network slicing, Irizarry said the less glamorous aspect is that it will improve profits through cost optimization.

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I want revenue. I want more customers, but I want my margins to improve.

Mike Irizarry, CTO

US Cellular

“Anything I can do to increase revenue or reduce cost is a good thing. Applying network segmentation to FWA and mobility allows me to optimize costs.”

Currently, T-Mobile US is the only operator in the country to fully deploy its SA 5G network and announced a nationwide beta of the network slicing technology for developers at MWC Las Vegas in September.

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