3GPP to Unveil First 5G Spec

Dan Jones
12/18/2017
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The 3GPP is expected to unveil its initial 5G specification this week, which is largely focused on delivering wireless broadband, and less on applications for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The phase 1 5G New Radio specification is part of Release 15 from the 3GPP. It defines a non-standalone version of 5G, where LTE is used for the control elements of setting data sessions.

"It's really exciting. Early-drop NR specifications give the industry a good sight-line to commercial launch of 5G mobile in the second half of 2019. This is an ambitious schedule, but it appears, at this stage, to be viable and is what some lead operators want to achieve," said Gabriel Brown, principal analyst at Heavy Reading.

Initially, the industry is mainly creating the PHY layer for 5G, according to Intel, with support for multiple millimeter wave and sub-6GHz bands globally.

"This is the first baby step towards a common 5G standard," said Asha Keddy, VP of the client and IoT businesses and systems architecture and GM of next generation and standards at Intel.

Ron Marquardt, VP of technology at Sprint, notes that 2.5GHz (band 41) will be among the 5G bands and has enough commonality with 3.5GHz to get an infrastructure boost.

"From our perspective it is very important we get the 2.5 defined early," he said.

The initial 5G spec will in fact focus largely on enhanced broadband. Work on features like IoT support, high-speed handoffs and more has been postponed until the next release. Release 16 is currently expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2018.

Light Reading expects to have more news and data on the 5G spec during the week.

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