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Special Report: Towards ‘true 5G’

There may already be more commercial 5G networks in the world than anyone had expected by mid-2019, but none of these, not even the wildly popular SK Telecom network in Korea, stands up to our definition of ‘true 5G’. All early adopters have led off with the 5G New Radio Non-standalone (NR NSA) platform, which means they can accelerate progress by deploying a 5G RAN, but retaining the LTE core. In most cases – with some exceptions in the South Korean operators’ heavily customized networks – the operators are rolling out conventional base stations, not Cloud-RAN, and even if their LTE cores are partially virtualized, they are certainly not cloud-native. To claim a ‘true 5G’ network – rather than a…

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