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5G NR specifications approved ahead of Release 15 completion

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  • 3GPP tweets news that 5G NR has been approved at RAN plenary
  • Industry jumps the gun on news with coordinated press release deluge
  • Work to sign off first drop of Release 15 still ongoing; due Friday
  • TelecomTV on site in Lisbon to bring insight and analysis

“First 5G NR specs approved,” is the headline this morning on the 3GPP’s website, as the organisation reacts to a deluge of identical press releases from industry heavyweights proclaiming that they are ready to start full-scale development of 5G NR (the NR stands for “New Radio”, but the group prefers to keep the abbreviation). However, the 3GPP cautions that “the Plenary meetings of 3GPP are still on-going, here in Lisbon,” and that it will be Friday before all the necessary work is approved and they officially deliver the first drop of Release 15 – work on which was brought forward after a number of members companies called for a faster schedule earlier this year.

The question here is: what actually made it into Rel-15 this week, and what work has had to be postponed in order for the organisation to meet the advanced deadline? We will find out tomorrow.

In the meantime, industry giants including Telefonica, Qualcomm, Deutsche Telekom, NEC, Huawei and Docomo (with doubtless many more to follow) have all issued the same joint press release celebrating the 5G “non-standalone” NR news. What a shame they couldn’t wait a day until the 3GPP released its own account of the success… such are the demands of the daily news cycle and the risk of getting the news lost in the Christmas and holiday season.

“Today the 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary Meeting in Lisbon successfully completed the first implementable 5G NR specification,” proclaimed the joint press release, the first of which was sent at 8am local time this morning (overlooking the fact that  the work was actually completed last night). In total, 30 vendors and operators put their names to the statement that:

“The completion of the first 5G NR standard has set the stage for the global mobile industry to start full-scale development of 5G NR for large-scale trials and commercial deployments as early as in 2019. This standard completion is an essential milestone to enable cost-effective and full-scale development of 5G NR, which will greatly enhance the capabilities of 3GPP systems, as well as facilitate the creation of vertical market opportunities.”

There then follows quotes from senior representatives of all 30 companies… most of whom are not actually here in Lisbon (I even wonder if any of them were), and who knows who actually came up with the quotes. One of the releases is here, if you want to read through them all. There’s nothing like spontaneity at moments like this…

“3GPP plans to continue to develop Release 15, including the addition of support for Standalone 5G NR operation,” the 30 companies add, referring to the fact that this week’s momentous achievement (and it is momentous) is for non-standalone operation alongside the LTE core. “We express our appreciation for the tremendous efforts that 3GPP has dedicated to accomplishing this challenging standardization schedule.”

We echo that sentiment, and will bring you a special report from Lisbon on TelecomTV tomorrow. 

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