3GPP 5G and TSG#81 (Gold Coast of Australia, September 2018)

In the introduction to this interview, Adrian Scrase welcomed Balazs Bertenyi and Georg Mayer to the Telstra Vantage trade show, in Melbourne. Last week’s Plenary meetings were held on the Gold Coast of Australia – so the first part of this video talks to that landmark event – the first 3GPP plenary meeting in Australia.

Georg Mayer described the setting as great and described how this meeting had given a fresh perspective on how this country is approaching 5G.

Adrian Scrase: Coming out of the plenaries, how would you summarise where we stand right now with 5G standards.

Balazs Bertenyi: If I look at the simple achievements of reaching milestones, the first release for 5G is now functionally frozen. When we set out on this journey about 18 months ago there were really two things that drove 3GPP activities in this schedule, one was to make sure that we catered for those operators that want to deploy 5G early. The second is to make sure – content wise – that we are making the right set of features to serve as the first stepping stone towards the holistic 5G vision. With the content that was frozen in Release 15, last week, we achieved both of those goals.

Georg Mayer: I think that the core network is already sufficiently stable, with Release 15 completion. What we see now are some issues in the pipe, such as security aspects and some orchestration aspects, but the base that we have is deployable and we are now looking to the future, with Release 16 and beyond.

Adrian Scrase: Given that there are operators that are eager to launch as soon as they can, are the standards stable enough, mature enough for early deployment?

Balazs Bertenyi: Absolutely, they are mature enough. Six months ago we froze the Non Standalone version of 5G [NR], now we have frozen the standalone version of 5G and LTE with it and just looking at the maturity of the specifications and the amount of change requests coming in, we can safely say that they are ready for implementation and commercial deployments.

Adrian Scrase: What can we now expect from Release 16?

Balazs Bertenyi: We have approved the work programme already, on the radio side, with a set of features that focus on expanding the reach of wireless and the reach of 5G, especially in the areas of ultra-reliable low latency, Industrial IoT, satellite, automotive use cases…Really, those areas where we had those industries coming into 3GPP – about a year ago – putting down the requirements and now we are at stage of actually starting specification work for those new items that expand the horizon of 5G.

George Mayer: In Release 16, we have to enhance the existing features from Release 15 in a suitable way. For instance, we are looking at the service based architecture – how to make this even more flexible than it is already and we have a lot of studies – in the working groups – looking at the features that we should do next, for new verticals, new stake holders such as medical, manufacturing, agriculture…they all have their requirements and we are studying them to see what can be in this Release (16).

Adrian Scrase: Where are we heading in the longer term?

Balazs Bertenyi: To fulfil the entire 5G vision doesn’t happen over two Releases, it really needs several (3GPP) Releases for all of those stake holders that we want to bring in to the wireless eco-system to come in and consolidate their requirements… I expect that beyond Release 16 this expansion will continue, with new sectors and new verticals – like health and agriculture – those sectors that haven’t quite found their way to 3GPP yet, but discussions are under way for them to come in.

Georg Mayer: There are technology challenges obviously, but we are used to dealing with the technological solutions. I agree, we have to find ways to bring in the stakeholders of different industries. We need to go to them to say that we are the place where the standards are made, that you will be using to communicate to your Applications.
This is the future that we are looking at, that we more-and-more have to inter-act with the outside world to get their requirements.

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