Mobile World Congress 2016 brought a new level of excitement around the next generation of mobile networks, 5G. From live demonstrations of 5G prototypes, to insightful 5G speakerships, to an abundance of 5G announcements from mobile operators around the world as they now begin to plan their 5G trials. 5G was everywhere!
Few people are more excited than me when it comes to 5G (see my recent blogs). But as is common with new technologies, especially new generations of mobile networks, excitement can lead us to sometimes focus on headlines and hype, versus real progress towards creating a global, interoperable 5G standard. And real progress was indeed made by the industry last week in Sweden with the 3GPP approval of the Study Item (RP-160671) defining the objectives for a new 5G radio access technology—an OFDM-based unified air interface scalable to an extreme variation of requirements.
This is an important 3GPP milestone as this 5G Study Item is expected to become the Release 15 Work Item which define the first 5G standard—estimated to be complete in the second half of 2018. Of course, this will only be the first Release of the 5G standard, which is envisioned to evolve over the next decade and beyond with future 3GPP Releases. In addition, this milestone also keeps the industry on track towards our target for 5G commercial network launches in ~2020. Yes, there will be many impactful and exciting pre-5G initiatives to test, trial, and commercialize 5G technologies ahead of 2020, of which Qualcomm is already participating in, but the 3GPP timeline is critically important for setting the clock on commercial launches of 5G networks with standards-compliant 5G infrastructure and devices.
Light Reading’s CEO and Founder, Steve Saunders, recently caught up with John Smee, Sr. Director of Engineering in Qualcomm Research, at MWC 2016 in Barcelona to discuss 5G progress, standardization, and much more.
And 5G was not the only focus of attention for the 3GPP in Sweden last week, as the industry continues to drive 4G LTE to its fullest potential with LTE Advanced Pro—pushing LTE capabilities towards our vision for 5G. The 3GPP approved new Release 14 Work Items including LTE Broadcast enhancements for Digital TV broadcasting and Full Dimension MIMO. These new Work Items will add to already approved rich roadmap of LTE Advanced Pro technologies including extending LTE to unlicensed spectrum (LAA/eLAA), LTE for the Internet of Things (eMTC, NB-IOT), LTE vehicle-to-vehicle/everything communications (LTE V2X), and much more.
As we did with 3G and 4G, Qualcomm is leading the world to 5G. We invite you to join us on this journey—sign up for our newsletter to hear the latest on 4G and 5G, and check out our website for all the latest information and downloads.