Legacy. It’s a word that gets tossed around quite a bit; be it an inheritance, an old system, or the mark left by a leader. If you are not intimate with 3GPP – the global standards body that develops specifications for cellular technologies (e.g., 5G, LTE, HSPA, UMTS, and GSM – I’m sure that you have heard many of these names), you may not recognize the name Dino Flore. But if you work in or around the mobile industry, or even if you are just passionate about mobile technology, you really should. Let me explain why.
At Qualcomm, we have a long history of leadership in wireless technical standards beginning with CDMA 25 years ago. Qualcomm has been a member of 3GPP since its creation in 1998. Dino has played a very critical role in 3GPP ever since he became a member of my Technical Standards team in 2005. He contributed heavily to the design and standardization of 3G and LTE systems. From August 2009 to May 2013, he served as Chairman of 3GPP RAN3, the Working Group responsible for the access network interfaces. As a result of his outstanding work and his ability to build broad consensus in 3GPP on choosing the best technologies (which believe me, is not easy), Dino was elected Chairman of 3GPP RAN in March 2013. 3GPP RAN (Radio Access Network) has six working groups which create compatibility specifications for the radio and access network, as well as performance requirements and testing procedures. More than 1000 people are attending the various RAN working groups. And what changes have occurred since he assumed the RAN Chairmanship!
During his tenure, which came to a close last week, Dino successfully managed the expansion of the LTE platform to new services and use cases, while continuing to improve its performance and efficiency to meet the ever-increasing mobile broadband demand. Less than 15 years ago, WCDMA, where it was deployed, was delivering peak data rates of 384 kbps. Today LTE is delivering fiber-like speeds with Gigabit LTE. LTE has also expanded to unlicensed spectrum with LAA and eLAA, to the Internet of Things (eMTC and NB-IoT), to bringing new ways to connect vehicles, to Public Safety use and much more. In my many years in the industry (I attended some standards meetings on enhancements for 1G), I’ve never seen such tremendous growth and expansion of an ecosystem in such a short timeframe. And yes, the tremendous growth and expansion of the mobile ecosystem is of course thanks to many people throughout the industry. Yet, I’m very confident in saying that Dino Flore’s leadership in 3GPP was instrumental in the progress we have made as an industry the last four years.
Two weeks ago at Mobile World Congress 2017, the mobile industry’s biggest trade show, 5G (fifth generation wireless) was everywhere. Dino has led the efforts to begin work on the standardization of 5G, which is the first major step toward commercialization starting in 2019. Based upon the requirements, 5G is the most ambitious “G” yet. The promise of 5G is taking everything we have learned, evolving it, and extending it to every industry, every object, and every connection. Under Dino’s leadership, 3GPP has quickly progressed over the last two years from a 5G vision, through Study Items, and most recently, to an approved work plan for the first 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) specifications that will be part of Release 15 – the global 5G standard. In his final 3GPP Plenary Meeting as 3GPP RAN Chairman last week in Dubrovnik, Croatia, it is no surprise that Dino ended on a high note. Not only was the previously mentioned work plan approved, but also a myriad of new Study and Work Items for LTE and 5G that will shape the roadmap for mobile over the next few years.
Moving forward, Qualcomm will continue to play a leadership role in the growing role of 3GPP by bringing into 3GPP our technology vision, supported by detailed technical designs and analysis created by our best-in-the-world communications system engineers. Congratulations to Balázs Bertényi who was elected as Dino’s successor as Chairman of 3GPP RAN, as well as the three newly elected Vice Chairs: Vince Spatafora, Xiaodong Xu, and Satoshi Nagata. And as for Dino, in September 2016 he was appointed Director General of the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA). 5GAA is bridging the automotive and telecom industries with the goal of addressing society’s connected mobility and road safety needs through communication solutions, commonly called V2X – be it direct communications between vehicles (V2V), with roadside infrastructure (V2I), or to the broader network (V2N). V2X communications will enhance safety, enhance intelligent transportation systems, and help lead the way for autonomous driving. I’m personally very excited to see what Dino brings to this important and rapidly expanding association.
I’d like to end this blog post with a very sincere thanks to Dino. Qualcomm and the entire mobile industry owe you a tremendous amount of gratitude for your inspiring vision, your relentless pursuit of excellence, and your unique ability to form a broad consensus within the industry, allowing members of the ecosystem to confidently move forward toward their goals of expanding the utility of mobile networks and technologies.