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We have standards, says 3GPP as group starts to lay groundwork for 5G

Analysts predict 400 million users by 2022

The first standards for 5G have been agreed, meaning industry can press ahead with next-gen speeds.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the body responsible for setting the standard, unveiled the 5G New Radio Non-Standalone at a meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

The introduction of an intermediate standard on the way to 5G was decided in March, in order to accelerate the rollout of the next mobile network generation.

Kester Mann, analyst at CCS Insights, said the next main standard is expected in June 2018.

"The standards enable devices to be created and built in a consistent way instead of having different versions, thus it enables all players to move forward in 5G in same technology. This is good news for 5G and the industry."

However, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst at Ovum, said that while the standard announcement is "hugely important" it is something that has been largely anticipated.

"We knew it was part of the acceleration. So we're not changing our forecast and outlook for 5G."

Ovum predicts there will be 400 million 5G users by 2022, representing 5 per cent of the world's connections. Of those half will come from Asia, with 75 million expected to be from Europe and 15 million from the UK.

"We'll start to see some marketing announcements in 2019, with real traction happening in 2021, and real market penetration by 2022."

However, some folk have been sceptical about 5G, believing that mobile operators are privately less keen about its adoption as they will bear the investment costs.

Gavin Patterson, chief exec of BT, last month admitted the telco is struggling to make a business case for 5G investment, given the huge costs of getting the network off the ground.

Nevertheless, a number of telcos lined up to welcome the standard announcement.

Neil McRae, chief architect at BT, said: "We are proud to have played a part in this and BT is committed to continuing to drive further 5G standardisation at pace to benefit our customers and communities."

Luke Ibbetson, head of Vodafone Group R&D, described the announcement as "a significant milestone".

ISP Review notes that the new 5G technology will be able to work across both low and high-frequency radio spectrum bands, starting at 450MHz and going as high as 52GHz. ®

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