5Qs on 5G: With 3GPP

3GPP's Kevin Flynn

Stemming all the way back from 1998 when it aimed to make a globally applicable 3G system based on GSM, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has certainly overseen a lot of change in network technology.

As the journey towards 5G picks up speed following the recent Mobile World Congress, ‘Inside5G’ spoke to 3GPP’s Marketing and Communications Officer Kevin Flynn to see how the project is looking towards the next-generation.

What is the main purpose of your involvement in 5G?

3GPP will get involved initially by supplying specifications for the evolution of existing systems, building on the fantastic results expected from LTE and LTE-Advanced features.

For full 5G we will align ourselves with the ITU-R call under IMT2020 and make sure that we meet the demands of the 3GPP Members as expressed in the various 5G white papers that have now been published.

What is the focus of your activities in 5G?

“we are building the bridge to this next generation”

We should be active in developing a roadmap beyond LTE that ensures that the quality level is maintained at every part of the standards making process. In 2015 there will be a workshop on the technical features identified by the RAN experts.

The 3GPP Systems experts are also working on requirements in another study item. So, I think that there is a realisation in the 3GPP community – that we are building the bridge to this next generation.

What are your targets in terms of output and results?

In 3GPP we are now addressing the need to make space for the work. Release 13 is due for a March 2016 freeze so the detailed work will not begin before then.

That said, there is some study item work in the current release (13) that will deliver one or more technical report(s) – which is the stage before the detailed specification writing, usually from the next Release onwards.

Have you identified any 5G technologies that look of particular interest?

“By the end of the year … there should be some exciting RAN and Core developments to specify”

The task of the Members of 3GPP is to now identify what can be achieved in the next release and the one after that. By the end of the year we should have a coordinated contribution to make to the IMT2020 family and there should be some exciting RAN and Core developments to specify.

What are the main challenges faced in the development and standardisation of 5G?

“we in 3GPP will do our best to ensure that the full potential of LTE is allowed to un-wind”

The IoT and 5G are sure to be very big topics and there is a momentum behind them, which we support. At the same time, we in 3GPP will do our best to ensure that the full potential of LTE is allowed to un-wind and that we do not have a fractured approach to future work.

Beyond that, the industry needs to ensure that 5G will be based on one global standard or family of standards. 3GPP will have a big role in this future work and I believe that we will provide precious stability and consistency to the task.

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