T-Mobile is taking advantage of its first-to-market 5G standalone (SA) network status and launching a 5G slicing beta for developers.

It’s already got beta participants lined up that include Dialpad, Google, Webex by Cisco, Zoom and more.

In the early days of 5G, network slicing was touted as one of the big ways operators would benefit from the next generation of wireless technology. But most operators started with non-standalone (NSA) 5G networks before moving to 5G SA. T-Mobile was first with a nationwide 5G SA.

“The wireless industry has talked about 5G network slicing for years and at T-Mobile we’ve been putting in the work to bring it to life,” said T-Mobile President of Technology Ulf Ewaldsson in a statement. “Thanks to our nationwide 5G SA network, T-Mobile is the only operator in the country capable of unlocking this technology so developers can immediately begin creating applications that can one day provide tangible benefits to wireless users everywhere.”   

T-Mobile said its network slicing beta is available today for iOS developers in Seattle and San Francisco and is expected to expand nationwide and to Android later this year as device manufacturers adopt the slicing capabilities available on Android OS.

Whether a large corporation or small startup, any video calling app develop can sign up for the beta by visiting T-Mobile’s developer platform DevEdge. Those in the greater Seattle area are invited to join T-Mobile engineers at the 5G Hub in Bellevue, Washington, to test and validate this capability on their applications. That’s where they may find themselves working alongside the likes of Dialpad Ai, Google, Webex by Cisco, Zoom Video Communications and others.  

‘Next level’ video calling 

The ”un-carrier” noted that data traffic on video calling apps has increased dramatically over the last few years as more people work remotely and/or try to stay connected with family and friends on the go. With a customized network slice, developers will get optimized network conditions to test video calling applications that require consistent uplink and downlink speeds and lower latency.  

“With the rise of the hybrid workforce and an increase in complex applications, there has never been a more critical need for 5G,” said Brian Peterson, chief technology officer and co-founder of Dialpad, in a statement. “T-Mobile’s 5G opens up incredible new possibilities for bringing mobile and AI applications to the next level. It gives us the ability to test new capabilities with features like network slicing and, ultimately, supercharge Dialpad and AI adoption for customers across the country.”

“Advanced 5G networks are more important than ever with work increasingly happening on the go in today’s era of hybrid work,” said Amit Barave, VP of Product Management at Webex by Cisco, in a statement. “We are proud to be working side-by-side with T-Mobile to harness cutting-edge features like network slicing that will deliver innovative solutions to customers that empower hybrid work.”

T-Mobile said it plans to expand the network slicing beta to additional application types and use cases in the future.  

5G SA gains steam

AT&T has been deploying its 5G SA software across the U.S. Verizon has said that it expects some customer traffic will be running on network slices in the second half of this year.

According to the latest GSA data released today, 115 operators in 52 countries and territories have invested in public 5G SA networks.

At least 36 operators in 25 countries and territories are now understood to have launched or deployed public 5G SA networks, two of which have only soft-launched their 5G SA networks, the organization said. The number of 5G SA devices also has increased, now up to 1,750.

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