5G now started in 3GPP

Work on next-generation wireless access, commonly referred to as 5G, has officially started in 3GPP with the 5G workshop - attended by a record number of 500 technical leaders. The workshop was held in conjunction with the RAN plenary in Phoenix, AZ, USA, where a study item on channel modelling for frequencies up to 100 GHz was approved.

5G3gpp Radio frequency

Principal Researcher

Principal Researcher

In this blog post I will share some reflections on the workshop.

The workshop consisted of two full days of presentations. There was a large number of presentations from individual companies, including Ericsson, giving views on various aspects of 5G. In addition, there were also some presentations highlighting the work done by various organizations, as well as synthesis documents collecting views from several companies. Especially worth noting is the Industry Vision and Schedule for New Radio Part of Next Generation Radio Technology, highlighting the views of 24 companies. The meeting was summarized by the chairman.


Almost all contributions highlighted the need to be able to support a wide variety of new services such as automotive, remote control, health, energy, manufacturing and so on. These services can be grouped in three high level use cases families

  1. Enhanced Mobile Broadband
  2. Massive Machine Type Communications
  3. Ultra-reliable and Low Latency Communications

It was acknowledged that, in addition to a continued strong backwards-compatible evolution of LTE, a new radio-access technology with no backwards-compatibility constraints will be developed. The requirements and scope of the new radio, sometimes referred to as NX, will be established by RAN in a requirement study item starting in December. Studies of technical solutions including evaluations will start in the working groups in March next year.

The work will be split across multiple releases with two phases of normative work. Phase 1 will be completed in the second half of 2018. It will fulfill a subset of the complete set of requirements and target the need for early commercial deployments in 2020 expressed by some operators. Phase 2, to be completed by the end of 2019, will meet all identified requirements and use cases.


One important aspect of the new radio access brought up by several companies at the workshop is forward compatibility. Not only is this crucial for the phased standardization process, it is also important from the perspective of creating an extensible platform capable of meeting new use cases in the future.

Several companies, as well as the joint industry contribution, highlighted the need to focus on enhanced MBB use case in phase 1 as this use case has been in focus for the operators targeting early deployments. Prioritization of use cases and frequency bands are expected to be resolved no later than March 2016.

To summarize

  • RAN has started the channel modeling work
  • Study item on 5G requirements and use cases will be approved in December
  • A technical study item will be approved in March

Stefan Parkvall, Principal Researcher

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