Last week, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards body and 47 operators and vendors agreed to accelerate some elements in the 5G new radio (NR) timeline. According to AT&T this means that the company we’ll be able to launch standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers starting as early as late 2018.
The accelerated schedule includes a plan to complete key components of the 5G standards needed to start chipset development in December 2017. That’s 6 months ahead of the expected 3GPP full Release 15.
These key components include the specifications for 5G NR along with the non-standalone option for the core network interface. The December 2017 standards milestone will unveil the first complete picture of a holistic 5G system, enabling hardware, chipset, and device manufacturers to start their development earlier.
Operators, in turn, will be able to provide standards-based mobile 5G service sooner to customers, with many in the industry aiming for 2019.
3GPP Release 16 is set to be completed in late 2019 and will cover the remaining 5G use cases and requirements. This includes support for the massive Internet of things (IoT) and ultra-high reliability and low-latency applications.
Together these two releases to cover all of the 5G use cases and requirements being specified by the 3GPP and the International Telecommunications Union.