3GPP delays 5G standards work by three months

The 3GPP – the global association developing the world's 5G technology standards – confirmed that the timeline for the completion of two upcoming releases for 5G specifications is to be shifted back by three months.

The association said the freezing of stage 3 of Release 16 has been shifted by three months to June 2020, although the freezing of Release 16 ASN.1 and the OpenAPI specification would still take place in June. Furthermore, work on Release 17 is to be shifted by three months, meaning that the freezing of stage 3 will take place in September 2021. The specification freeze for Release 17 ASN.1 and OpenAPI is now scheduled for December 2021.

The move had been expected after 3GPP announced it would cancel its face-to-face meetings in February and March due to concerns about the spreading coronavirus. (See Coronavirus cuts into 5G standards work.)

Freezing stage 3 of a release essentially means no further functions can be added. For the uninitiated, ASN.1 refers to abstract syntax notation object identifiers maintained by standards body ETSI.

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The 3GPP did not clarify how the delay could impact 5G rollouts, although Releases 16 and 17 appear to include important elements for the further development of the technology. Release 16 covers "phase 2" of the 5G system as well as industrial IoT, among other aspects. Release 17 is to include further 5G system enhancements.

The good news for the mobile industry is that the association is carrying on its work, albeit on a remote basis. It has already lined up a schedule of online meetings for the coming months.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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