AT&T doubled down on a targeted launch of standalone (SA) 5G in 2020, joining rivals T-Mobile and Verizon in jockeying for a leadership position on the technology.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live (MWL) work on its SA core is “progressing as planned” despite the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. AT&T already has “working, integrated solutions in place today” and is on track to begin initial commercial deployments in the coming months, the representative added.

The goal is to launch and expand commercial SA 5G when the broader ecosystem of devices and applications able to fully take advantage of the technology’s features “is lined up to matter”.

AT&T’s comments come as US operators jockey to lead on SA 5G, with T-Mobile US staking a claim last week as the first operator in the world to offer nationwide coverage and Verizon advancing toward “full commercialisation” in 2021.

While T-Mobile revealed it used Cisco and Nokia for its SA 5G core, neither AT&T nor Verizon named vendor partners.

AT&T first launched non-standalone 5G service for select subscribers in December 2018, and opened the offer to all customers a year later.

In December 2019, AT&T Mobility SVP Kevin Petersen told MWL advanced network slicing capabilities offered by SA 5G will provide new revenue-generating opportunities across both the enterprise and consumer segments.