Microwave Journal
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5G

Industry’s First 5G NR Standard is Approved by 3GPP

The official 5G race is on

December 21, 2017

The 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary Meeting in Lisbon successfully completed the first 5G NR specification. On February 27, 2017 in Barcelona, mobile industry leaders announced their support for the acceleration of the 5G NR standardization schedule, which introduced an intermediate milestone to complete the first implementable specification for Non-Standalone 5G NR operation. As a result of, the schedule acceleration was agreed at the 3GPP RAN Plenary Meeting on March 9 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. This first specification was completed as part of 3GPP Release 15.

AT&T, BT, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, KT Corporation, LG Electronics, LG Uplus, MediaTek Inc., NEC Corporation, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, Sony Mobile Communications Inc., Sprint, TIM, Telefonica, Telia Company, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Vodafone, and ZTE have made a statement that the completion of the first 5G NR standard has set the stage for the global mobile industry to start full-scale development of 5G NR for large-scale trials and commercial deployments as early as in 2019.

According to a Qualcomm release, this standard completion is an essential milestone to enable cost-effective and full-scale development of 5G NR, which will greatly enhance the capabilities of 3GPP systems, as well as facilitate the creation of vertical market opportunities. 3GPP plans to continue to develop Release 15, including the addition of support for Standalone 5G NR operation also agreed upon by 3GPP in Dubrovnik. The 5G NR lower layer specifications have been designed so that they can support Standalone and Non-Standalone 5G NR operation in a unified way, to ensure that 3GPP benefits the global industry with a large-scale single 5G NR ecosystem. We express our appreciation for the tremendous efforts that 3GPP has dedicated to accomplishing this challenging standardization schedule.

Qualcomm released another announcement stating that an important technology milestone based on the newly-approved NSA 5G NR standard has been achieved by a group of leading mobile communications companies. Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, in collaboration with AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, SK Telecom, Sprint, Telstra, T-Mobile US, Verizon, and Vodafone, demonstrated 3GPP-compliant 5G NR multi-vendor interoperability during live demonstrations held in both the Ericsson Lab in Kista, Sweden and the Qualcomm Research lab in New Jersey, USA. Ericsson’s 5G NR pre-commercial base stations and Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G NR UE prototypes will enable operators to conduct live tests in their own networks.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, says: “This milestone builds on years of researching and developing 5G technology as well as on leading and contributing to the standardization work. By working closely with our key partners in early trials and fine-tuning our global portfolio, we ensure that we can bring the standard-compliant technology to the benefits of our customers and their customers.”

“Achieving multi-vendor interoperability based on the global 5G NR standard is a true testament to our continued 5G leadership, delivering fundamental contributions to the 3GPP standard and driving toward the launch of standard-compliant commercial networks and devices starting in 2019,” says Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, QCT.“As we did in both 3G and 4G, we are excited to collaborate with Ericsson as an industry leader to accelerate the path to 5G globally.”

The over-the-air Interoperability Development Testing (IODT) was conducted for lower layer data connections operating at both 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. These just standardized layers are the fundamental building blocks of 5G NR. NSA 5G NR will use the existing LTE radio and evolved packet core network as an anchor for mobility management and coverage while adding a new 5G NR radio access carrier to enable certain 5G use cases starting in 2019. The official 5G race is on!