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And that is definitively that ... for now. 5G's carrier features frozen

Still to come: standards for stuff like IoT that non-carriers care about

Meta-standards group the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) last week rubber-stamped the first "frozen" 5G standards.

A plenary in the USA saw around 600 delegates approve 5G Release 15, which gives operators the first phase of standardisation for the mobile standard.

The 3GPP working groups involved in completing Release 15 were the TSG CT (core network and terminals), TSG RAN (radio access network, responsible for 5G New Radio), and TSG-SA (Service and System Aspects).

The delegates represented 29 vendors, 20 carriers, and two academic research institutions.

This release is aimed squarely at the OEM and network operator market, allowing them to start deploying 5G as soon as vendors have kit available. ETSI CTO Adrian Scrase told TelecomTV the standards cover multiple deployment cases, so carriers can decide whether the new standard will start out as an enhancement to existing 4G networks, or as a greenfield rollout.

The next phase of standardisation, due late in 2019, will also cover non-carrier use-cases, in particular Internet of Things deployments in agricultural, automotive, transport and other sectors, Scrase said.

He also noted that the standardisation task is far greater than the 3GPP could have delivered alone, noting contributions from the IETF and ETSI among others.

In a joint media announcement, the 3GPP delegates said:

“The completion of SA [standalone] specifications which complements the NSA [non-standalone] specifications, not only gives 5G NR the ability of independent deployment, but also brings a new network architecture, making 5G a facilitator and an accelerator during the intelligent information and communications technology improvement process of enterprise customers and vertical industries.”

There's more information about 5G Release 15 here. ®

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