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Standalone 5G: balancing new revenues with network efficiencies
As operators launch 5G, they can deploy networks in non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) modes. The former leverages 5G radio access network kit for connectivity, using the 4G core for control functions; the latter relies solely on 5G network assets (radio access and core). NSA has been a natural starting point for many operators, helping them balance coverage requirements and technology maturity realities by leveraging existing network assets. SA 5G, however, promises to deliver on the full suite of 5G capabilities (e.g. network slicing and critical communications support). Interim results from a GSMA Intelligence global survey of operators shed light on when the transition from NSA to SA might take place and how this will affect 5G use cases.