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Nokia and Ericsson push 5G ahead of standards agreement

​Ericsson and Nokia are forging ahead with 5G and 5G ready products despite 3GPP Release-15, which will include the first set of 5G specifications, being scheduled to be frozen in September 2018. However, a 3GPP spokesperson told Land Mobile that it is not unusual for the vendors that are heavily involved in the standards-making process to anticipate the features that will appear in releases and add them to new products prior to the releases being frozen. He added that much of the groundwork for the 5G features being developed in Release 15 will be handled in Release 14.

Ericsson is forging ahead to commercialise the world's first 5G New Radio (NR), the AIR 6468, for massive MIMO, with the first deployments coming in 2017. Together with the Ericsson 5G Plug-Ins announced in June and Ericsson's already commercially available Radio System Baseband 5216, which currently powers Ericsson's Radio Test Bed, Ericsson is first to deliver all components of a 5G access network.

“There is quite a large pull from some operators on being early out in deploying 5G technologies, with some trials and early deployments targeting some specific use cases,” Håkan Andersson, 5G project manager, Ericsson explained. “These could provide good input for validating specific 5G technologies and use cases, supporting decisions in 3GPP, and eventually accelerating the ecosystem support for 5G. The benefit of a globally aligned 5G standard from 3GPP is very well recognised, and will provide the basis for large scale, global deployments.”

Andersson confirmed that forward compatibility is one of the key components to support both the different phases of 5G in 3GPP, as well as to allow for future technology components to be added, as these mature, in future releases of the 3GPP 5G standard. “Ericsson is a keen supporter of 3GPP for such an approach, he added. “There has already been some key agreements in 3GPP for the 5G physical layers, such as modulation and carrier spacing, that has allowed us to start development of NR radio products and have a good view of the technology challenges NR will bring. Ericsson has already developed a programmable baseband platform that we see being capable to also allow for implementing the protocols of the anticipated 3GPP 5G standard.”

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