A contingent of mobile communications companies have announced their collective support for the acceleration of the 5G New Radio (NR) standardization schedule to enable large-scale trials and deployments as early as 2019.
AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, INC., SK Telecom, Vodafone, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., British Telecom, Telstra, Korea Telecom, Intel, LG Uplus, KDDI, LG Electronics, Telia Company, Swisscom, TIM, Etisalat Group, Huawei, Sprint, Vivo, ZTE and Deutsche Telekom will support a corresponding work plan proposal for the first phase of the 5G NR specification at the next 3GPP RAN Plenary Meeting on March 6-9 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The first 3GPP 5G NR specification will be part of Release 15 – the global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands. Based on the current 3GPP Release 15 timeline the earliest 5G NR deployments based on standard-compliant 5G NR infrastructure and devices will likely not be possible until 2020.
Instead, the new proposal introduces an intermediate milestone to complete specification documents related to a configuration called Non-Standalone 5G NR to enable large-scale trials and deployments starting in 2019. Non-Standalone 5G NR will utilize the existing LTE radio and evolved packet core network as an anchor for mobility management and coverage while adding a new 5G radio access carrier to enable certain 5G use cases starting in 2019. The new proposal and the intermediate milestone also re-affirm and solidify the schedule for the complete standard, including Standalone 5G NR in Release 15.
The supporting companies are further committed to make forward compatibility a key design principle for the standardization of the first release of 5G NR. This will enable in-band introduction of new capabilities and features in subsequent releases critical to enabling yet to be identified industries and use cases and achieving the 5G vision to connect everything to everything.
The proposal is consistent with 3GPP’s commitment to enable a flexible evolution and inter-working of the radio access network towards 5G NR and the evolution of the core network towards the 5G System.
As proven by the broad Industry support, this proposal delivers the ability to address the increasing global demand for enhanced mobile broadband services with 5G NR in 2019, while continuing to address the broader vision for 5G NR in 2020 and beyond.
“We support both the Standalone and Non-Standalone configurations of 5G New Radio,” said Tom Keathley, senior vice president- wireless network architecture and design, AT&T. “Our focus is on prioritizing important specifications in the standards to bring 5G to market as quickly as possible. In the process of defining any standard, it is normal to make some decisions earlier than others. These accelerated decisions on key components of 5G New Radio standards will allow an earlier start on the development of the infrastructure and devices of tomorrow’s 5G deployments.”
NTT DOCOMO, INC.
Seizo Onoe, executive vice president and chief technology officer, NTT DOCOMO said, “5G is the key enabler to create new business opportunities across industries. DOCOMO plans a commercial launch with Non-Standalone 5G NR by 2020. Acceleration of the standardization schedule will facilitate early implementation of the standard-compliant 5G NR. We will ensure the highly-stable 5G services through large-scale trial activities with a wider range of industry partners.”
SK Telecom, Co. Ltd.
Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice president, Head of Network Technology R&D Center, SK Telecom said, “As the demand for 5G commercialization is rapidly increasing, it is crucial to complete globally agreed 5G standardization in time. 3GPP NR is the global 5G standard and we are making continuous efforts to accelerate 3GPP NR standardization with partners.”
Luke Ibbetson, head of research and development and strategy, Vodafone Group, said: “Standardisation of the New Radio interface will be critical to the successful development of 5G over the coming years. As the industry starts to design and test a new generation of services and applications, a common global standard for the underlying mobile technology will allow innovation to flourish and help us achieve economies of scale.”
Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Network Products, says: “The faster we commercialize 5G based on 3GPP specifications, the faster we will realize its benefits for the entire industry. We are thrilled to participate in this initiative to accelerate the 5G ecosystem and commercial deployment.”
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and president, QCT said, “5G NR technologies will be critical to meet the ever-increasing connectivity requirements for emerging mobile broadband experiences such as virtual reality, augmented reality and connected cloud computing, and we are already seeing the need to bring these technologies to devices globally sooner rather than later. There is great value in accelerating the timeline to commercialization, while maintaining the global scale through the proper standardization process in 3GPP.”
Howard Watson, CEO BT TSO noted, “By accelerating the creation of the new radio interface we will be able to enable the 5G experience for customers sooner driving our purpose of using communications to make a better world”.
Mike Wright, Telstra’s Group Managing Director Networks, said “Telstra is committed to the benefits of industry standardization and the development of this intermediate milestone for 5G NR would allow the benefits of early launch of 5G in the 2019 timeline following extensive pre-5G testing planned by Telstra during 2018.”
Korea Telecom, Co. Ltd.
“We are pretty encouraged by the increasing voices heard within the telecom industry that the process of New Radio Specification should be expedited,” said YongGyoo Lee, Senior Vice President – Network Strategy, Korea Telecom. “KT views that Non-Standalone and Standalone modes are equally important for the sake of completeness of the Standard Specification. However, we believe that early introduction of 5G network, compensated by already-prevailing LTE coverage, is a reasonable approach for the operators when taking the ROI factors into the consideration, and it justifies the slight preference for NSA mode in terms of priority. Our view is that 5G is not just the matter of achieving higher data speed. Rather, we believe that it will completely turn around the way the communication service is provided to the customers and eventually open up the opportunity for the telecom operators to diversify the new revenue streams in a cost-effective way. I am sure that the whole industry will enjoy the benefits from quick introduction of 5G into the market, enabled by the acceleration of 5G NR Specification in 3GPP.”
Asha Keddy, vice president and general manager of Next Generation Standards, Intel Communications and Devices Group, says, “Intel is committed to accelerating the roll out of 5G from the cloud to the network to the device. Global industry collaboration to accelerate the 3GPP NR standard is a lynchpin to making 5G a worldwide success and to scale. 5G is a true inflection point in technology and will transform our lives and society in ways far beyond previous connectivity standards, and as such, the ability to solidify a global standard is more critical than ever.”
Yoshiaki Uchida, Managing Executive Officer, Technology Sector, Member of the Board, KDDI Corporation said, “For rapid commercialization of 5G, forming an ecosystem by global harmonization including frequency bands and specifications is even more crucial than in the previous generations. KDDI is targeting to start 5G services in 2020, which mandates early completion of NR specification. We sincerely hope the acceleration of related 3GPP activities.”
Go-Hee Choi, Senior Vice President, Head of Advanced Standard R&D Lab, said, “LG Electronics believes that the early completion of 5G NR global standardization would be crucial in satisfying growing market demands for new innovative 5G experiences and making 5G a worldwide success. We fully support the initiative for 5G NR global acceleration and will make every effort to expedite the completion of 5G NR specification in 3GPP based on global partnership.”
Mauro Costa, Director, Network Architecture & Strategy, Telia Company says, “A global standard is a fundamental pre-requisite to make 5G a success and open up for innovation and new business opportunities. Considering the large and increasing 5G interest from our customers, we see a strong need to have the standard to progress fast and complete on time. The acceleration of the 3GPP NR standard is an essential step in this direction.”
Daniel Staub, Head of Joint Mobile Group, Swisscom and in charge of the 5G implementaion said: “As a European technology leader, Swisscom wants to get 5G early. Swisscom is fully committed to standards. Therefore, a proprietary or close-to-standard implementation is not of interest to Swisscom. As a consequence, Swisscom is fully supporting 5G NR acceleration to always provide the best experience on the best network to our customers.”
Hatam Bamatraf, Chief Technology Officer, International said: “Etisalat Group is committed to the accelerated development of 5G that meets a global standard. Such a standard will have a positive impact on efficiency and the quality of the services we can deliver to our customers. Being part of this collective effort from the industry to take forward 5G NR, reflects Etisalat Group’s open approach to partnership and our focus on innovation.”
“5G will usher in an era of deep convergence between telecom and vertical industries, meaning 5G standards will apply to multiple scenarios and enable the digital transformation of multiple industries.” Mr. Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei 5G, said: “We need to define a Future-Proof 5G architecture which combining innovative achievements from various industries, to meet the requirements of numerous applications step by step and then to ensure the strategic vision and leading capabilities of 5G.”
Yujian Shi, senior vice president, vivo said, “Both Non-Standalone and Standalone 5G NR are very important scenarios. A unified 5G standard for both scenarios has contribution to build up a global 5G ecosystems. The acceleration of 5G will help the earlier mature of 5G terminal industry. As a global terminal vendor, we will continuously create surprising to our customers in coming 5G era.”
Xu Huijun, CTO of ZTE, said, “As a global leader in telecommunications and information technology, ZTE sees the significant importance of 3GPP standard beneficial to whole industrial chain and keeps contributing actively to global standards. ZTE will work together with partners to push forward 5G test and trial steadily, to promote the 5G commercialization world widely.”
“Deutsche Telekom is committed to this initiative to accelerate the availability of standardized 5G technologies to meet the evolving broadband demands of our customers,” says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO, Deutsche Telekom. “The early availability of standards will enable smooth evolution paths towards the next generation of communications, provide the basis for extensive pre-testing activities and generate confidence in the benefits and potential of the new technology for the entire industry.”