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3GPP finalizes standalone 5G NR spec at RAN Plenary

Ericsson, Intel, China Mobile complete standard-compliant call

Sticking to its aggressive timeline for finalization of the standalone 5G New Radio (NR) specification, the 3GPP yesterday approved the details of Release 15 building on the work completed in December related to non-standalone 5G NR.

Michael Thelander, president and founder of Signals Research Group, provided some hot takes from the meeting in La Jolla, Calif. He notes that while Release 15 is done, “It is worth noting that 3GPP won’t finish the intended set of 5G functionality required to meet IMT-2020 requirements until 2019 when it finishes work on Release 16.”

Thelander continues: “The real focus [of the plenary]is on defining a doable set of Release 16 study and work items for both LTE and 5G New Radio (NR). The functionality enabled by the completed Release 16 work items will define the set of 5G specifications which will become a part of IMT-2020. Already, there is some talk of Release 17 functionality since it is inevitable there won’t be much time for new study/work items in the forthcoming release.”

In near tandem with the 3GPP decision, Ericsson, Intel and China Mobile announced a successful standards-compliant call as part of multi-vendor interoperability testing. The partners used 3.5 GHz spectrum for the transmission. Ericsson supplied base stations and Intel provided prototype user equipment.

Intel’s Asha Keddy, VP and GM, Next Generation Standards, said the successful trial is the culmination of “years of research and standardization. We’re delivering on our commitment to realize a standard-compliant and easily-deployable technology that will bring benefits to our customers and end users.”

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