Late last night in Lisbon – Portugal, during the 3GPP’s quarterly plenary meeting, we saw the announcement of the completion of Release 15 NSA 5G NR specification. The 5G NR (New Radio) standard is defined through collaboration of the world’s telecommunication companies within the 3GPP initiative. 

Earlier this year the industry agreed to a plan to accelerate up the 5G standardisation schedule and it was agreed to split up the specification of Release 15 (i.e. 5G) into two phases, Release 15 NSA (Non-standalone) as a priority and Release 15 Full (with standalone) at a later date in 2018. Today’s announcement completes the first phase and arguably the most important phase for equipment designers and manufacturers. 

The non-standalone mode revolves around enabling the enhanced Mobile BroadBand (eMBB) use-case and anchors the connection in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to increase data rates and take advantage of the reduced latency. This mode will be a cornerstone of 5G in the early years of adoption as mobile carriers introduce network compatibility. The freezing of the specification gives the industry green light to fully accelerate design and implementation of equipment adhering to the standard to reach the goal of commercialising first products in the 2019 time-frame.

The full Release 15 specification to be completed around the June 2018 time-frame will enable standalone 5G NR with user and control plane using the 5G next-generation core network (5G NGC). The NSA and SA releases share the same physical layers specifications and thus we expect NSA hardware equipment to be forward compatible with the SA standard once it’s been finalized next year.

The announcement also came with significant news for Sprint in the US: The 3GPP have included the 2.5GHz spectrum band into the 5G NR NSA specification, which positions the now SoftBank-owned US carrier at the forefront in terms of sub-6GHz 5G spectrum. The carrier promises 5G deployment in 2019. 

Source: 3GPP Press Release/Twitter

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  • hahmed330 - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    Yeah well nobody cares anymore about 5G since we have he have such anemic and ludicrously expensive data plans. All of this has become worse with the demise of Title 2 part of net neutrality with the upcoming fast lanes and slow lanes. 5G use for autonomous vehicle use which Qualcomm thinks is a good idea is a security nightmare on an epic level. Reply
  • III-V - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    Quit using one of the big 4 mobile providers then. You're only getting milked because you're making bad decisions. Try an MVNO. Reply
  • r3loaded - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    > nobody cares anymore about 5G since we have he have such anemic and ludicrously expensive data plans

    Maybe in the USA. In the UK I can get unlimited data, unlimited calls, unlimited texts, 30GB hotspot allowance, and free roaming in 71 countries for £30 ($40) a month. Bring on 5G!
    Reply
  • iwod - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    Which network is that? Reply
  • RaichuPls - Friday, December 22, 2017 - link

    I think that's on Three. Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    And what do you think will reduce the cost of data plans?
    (a) Bitching on the internet forever?
    (b) Improved technology that allows for better use of limited spectral resources?

    EVERY DAMN TIME we get this argument. Are you going to argue that a more efficient new engine is not interesting because gasoline is already so expensive? That more efficient LED lights aren't interesting because electricity isn't free?
    Reply
  • Pork@III - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    The United States is very far from the white world as a benefit that you can get against your spending money. Reply
  • edzieba - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    5G NR sounds a bit like the early days of 3G rollout: 3G used to replace 2G GPRS data, but voice and other protocols still going over 2G. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    Hell, hardly anybody gave a shit about 3G until around 2010. Reply
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, December 21, 2017 - link

    if 5G has some problem, it is its very short range, so you need a lot of radio stations. So it is very good in dense populated areas, where you can easily build many masts and you need bigger capacity. In rural areas, the 4G will be the main system along the old 3G.
    So expect to see 5G in towns mainly.
    Reply

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