3GPP Plans Early Mobile 5G Spec for December 2017

Dan Jones
9/8/2016
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LAS VEGAS -- CTIA Super Mobility Week 2016 -- An initial version of the 5G specification for mobile applications could be agreed upon on by the end of 2017 but that doesn't mean the over-arching spec is agreed upon yet.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 's NSA-NR (Non-Standalone-New Radio) specification is now due to be baked in December 2017. "NSA-NR is intended for mobile devices," Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s SVP of engineering, Durga Malladi, told me on the show floor Wednesday evening.

The non-standalone part of NSA-NR refers to the fact that a 5G radio is twinned with LTE as the "anchor network" managing the connection. In other words, 5G is the fast radio super highway, while LTE functions as the stop and go lights controlling the traffic and making sure calls get on and off the highway. (See Is This the 5G You're Looking For?)

The NSA-NR specification is different from the initial fixed application that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) says it wants to use its 5G specification for; the NSA-NR would target mobile use cases as well. Deploying 5G for mobile will be more difficult than fixed, since the devices must be smaller and the network will need to support fast hand-overs as people move between cell sites. (See Verizon Updates 5G Spec, Could Launch Ahead of 3GPP.)


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If NSA-NR is baked in December that means that it is possible that initial mobile devices might start to arrive in late 2018 or early 2019. There is a significant milestone for the development of the 5G specification coming ahead of that in March 2017, notes Michael Murphy, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s head of technology for North America, in a meeting Thursday morning.

This is a checkpoint meeting by various working groups to ensure compatibility on the specification work so far. "Remember, there is no 3GPP standard yet, we'll have to wait and see," Murphy said.

"The question is, will they hit their targets?" Murphy asked rhetorically. "There's a fairly good chance it will happen."

Operators and vendors hope to create early 5G specifications that are software upgradeable as 5G firms up. The 3GPP expects to bake Phase I of the New Radio spec in June 2018 with 3GPP Release 15. Phase II of the NR spec is due in the fourth quarter of 2019.(See 3GPP Wants to Complete Initial 5G Radio Spec in June 2018.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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kq4ym
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kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/21/2016 | 7:19:47 PM
Re: Convergence?
Yes, it will be something to watch as all the varying formats and frequencies are still a confused mess for travelers not to mention just how all are selected by each company's telcos and differening regulations throughout the world depending on the frequency band used.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/12/2016 | 1:07:19 PM
Re: 3GPP timelines
Dan Jones

" I though his comment about it supporting mobile was interesting so much of the early spec work seems to be focused on fixed."

The head of NTT Docomo's 5G project Nakamura Takeshiro speaking at a 5G conference in Tokyo describe 28 Ghz as a Samsung backed technology. And Samsung 5G at 28 Ghz is a fully mobile technology, supporting vehicles traveling in speed of 70 mph. This is why Samsung is providing a loaner prototype 28 Ghz 5G phone model to journalists and telco executives visiting Pyeongchang in 2018 and not some fixed demo stations. Hence there is no real reason to invest in fixed 28 Ghz 5G as an intermediary step, when fully mobile commercial grade 5G stations will be ready for deployment starting mid 2019.

If you want to deploy 5G in 28 Ghz band, then you have no other place to go but to Samsung.

"いわゆる28GHz帯で、Samsung Electronicsなどもここを使った5G技術の開発を進めていて、中村氏も「非常に盛り上がっている帯域で、日本でもある程度使える」と述べる。"

http://eetimes.jp/ee/articles/1606/15/news032_2.html
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/11/2016 | 12:37:50 PM
Re: Convergence?
The 128x8 MIMO station used by Softbank was supplied by ZTE. As you know, Softbank is eager to bring Chinese basestations into the US.

http://www.telecompaper.com/news/softbank-wireless-city-planning-launch-5g-project--1161736

ZTE provides SoftBank with commercial Massive MIMO base stations, which were also used in the 5G demo. This follows a joint development agreement first signed with ZTE in July 2015.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
9/9/2016 | 11:29:35 AM
Re: 3GPP timelines
Yeah, probably on a slide somewhere, no doubt. I though his comment about it supporting mobile was interesting so much of the early spec work seems to be focused on fixed. And unless you live in Armpit, Omoha, fixed isn't that interesting (sez me anyway).
KeithDye63852
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KeithDye63852,
User Rank: Light Beer
9/9/2016 | 5:53:35 AM
3GPP timelines
Existing 3GPP timeline here >>> http://the-mobile-network.com/2016/06/3gpp-works-out-work-programme-for-first-5g-specifications/nr_ng_timeline/

 

Seems to suggest aim is already that L1/L2 NSA and SA common elements already to be frozen in Dec 17, with higher layer components following between then and June 2018. Is Malladi referring to this existing timeline, or suggesting that the elements in Stage 6 are going to be pulled forward?

 

 

 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
9/8/2016 | 5:58:41 PM
Re: Convergence?
I'm not getting my hopes too high on anything, not my job to be a cheerleader for 5G.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2016 | 5:25:01 PM
Re: Convergence?
Dan Jones

Anyhow, don't get your hopes too high on so called "Below 6 Ghz" 5G that uses Massive MIMO to boost the throughput as proposed by Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Huawei.

Softbank is launching its 128x8 MIMO TD-LTE network this month, and your throughput in congested area improves, but it doesn't improve your peak throughput you get in non-congested area. Massive MIMO is not the solution to increasing individual user's throughput, you need bandwidth for that.



DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
9/8/2016 | 5:15:08 PM
Re: Convergence?
Hopefully by the time you can buy a 5G phone there will be a few more VoLTE networks running.

There's going to be different frequencies to support. That's true of LTE now. That's not the same as CDMA vs. GSM, 2 completely incompatible systems.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2016 | 5:01:16 PM
Re: Convergence?
Dan Jones

"Well they probably won't do phones without LTE, so you'll be ok."

Voice calls require 2G or 3G circuit switching, not very many networks support VoLTE right.

Of course there are VoIP apps to get around this problem.

"Nokia's Ricky Corker is adamant there will be not be another CDMA vs. GSM situation in the offing."

That depends. For example, Europeans are pushing 15 Ghz that will not be supported in the US/Japan/Korea. Likewise US/Japan/Korea 28 Ghz 5G will not be supported in Europe. Neither are supported in China becaue Chinese are doing Below 6 Ghz 5G only. No cmWave and no mmWave stuff in China.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2016 | 4:58:48 PM
Re: Convergence?
msibey

"I'm still traumatized from trying to travel internationally with a CDMA phone."

5G fragmentation is inevitable at this point.
You will have to resort to LTE when traveling internationally.

NTT Docomo talked about building two 5G networks in Japan, one for Chinese 5G and another for US/Japan/Korea common 28 Ghz 5G. So you will be OK if you are traveling to Japan or Korea with a Verizon 5G phone, but you don't get 5G in China or Chinese influenced territories like Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Those territories require Chinese 5G format phones to be sold by Sprint.

No one really knows where EU is going with 5G. For example, NTT Docomo wasn't factoring in EU compatibility when laying out its 5G plan.
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