First official standards for 5G networks agreed

5G networks have come a major step closer to fruition after a landmark agreement governing the rules of the new technology.

The decision by the 3GPP TSG RAN meeting to finalise the first implementable 5G NR specification means that the telecoms industry can now start preparing for the rollout of a standardised technology.

The announcement, made after the plenary meeting in Lisbon, has been supported by all the major carriers, including BT, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Huawei, NTT, Orange Verizon, and Vodafone.

It’s been a long process, but one speed up by the decision taken in Barcelona in February to accelerate the procedure.  Following this announcement, the schedule acceleration was agreed at the 3GPP RAN Plenary Meeting in Dubrovnik. This first specification was completed as part of 3GPP Release 15

This standard is necessary for full-scale development of 5G NR, which will enhance the capabilities of 3GPP systems, as well as facilitate the creation of vertical market opportunities. 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: this will ensure that 3GPP benefits the global industry with a large-scale single 5G NR ecosystem.

Carriers delight

Carriers were delighted with the passing of this milestone. "We view both the Non-Standalone and Standalone modes of New Radio as equally important for the completeness of the 5G standard specification. This timely finalisation of NSA is one important step on that journey and in the development of the 5G ecosystem," said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO Deutsche Telekom. "It is crucial that the industry now redoubles its focus on the Standalone mode to achieve progress towards a full 5G system, so we can bring key 5G innovations such as network slicing to our customers."

Arnaud Vamparys, SVP Radio Networks, added, "With subsequent 3GPP releases expected from mid 2018 that will accelerate application and IoT development, Orange sees a myriad of opportunities to deliver a differentiated and high quality network."