Busting a Myth: 3GPP Roadmap to true 5G (IMT 2020) vs AT&T “standards-based 5G” in Austin, TX

TRUTH about 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the path to 5G Standards:

3GPP is a very honest, focused and effective engineering organization that develops technical specifications – not standards.  Not once has 3GPP contributed to the hype and spin embedded in  “5G” propaganda and fake news.  It is the 3GPP  member companies, service providers, and the press that’s guilty of that disinformation campaign.

From the 3GPP website under the heading Official Publications:

The 3GPP Technical Specifications and Technical Reports have, in themselves, no legal standing. They only become “official” when transposed into corresponding publications of the Partner Organizations (or the national / regional standards body acting as publisher for the Partner). At this point, the specifications are referred to as UMTS within ETSI and FOMA within ARIB/TTC.

Some TRs (mainly those with numbers of the form xx.8xx) are not intended for publication, but are retained as internal working documents of 3GPP. Once a Release is frozen (see definition in 3GPP TR 21.900), its specifications are published by the Partners.

All of the above and more were explained in this blog post, but apparently no one paid any attention as the claims of being complaint with “3GPP standards” abound.  Here are two from AT&T:

1.  After the 3GPP New Radio (NR) description/specification was completed in 3GPP Release 15:

“We’re proud to see the completion of this set of standards. Reaching this milestone enables the next phase of equipment availability and movement to interoperability testing and early 5G availability,” said Hank Kafka, VP Access Architecture and Analytics at AT&T. “It showcases the dedication and leadership of the industry participants in 3GPP to follow through on accelerating standards to allow for faster technology deployments,” he added.

2. In AT&Ts recent FCC application for an experimental radio license in Austin, TX, which is in this FCC filing:

3GPP has developed 5G standards that became available in 2018.”

That statement was echoed in a Light Reading blog post titled: AT&T to Show Off Standards-Based 5G in Austin.

My rebuttal in an email to AT&T executives included this paragraph:

As you should be very well aware, 3GPP specifications have no official status and are not standards (as per their website).  More importantly, 3GPPs “final 5G” spec will be in release 16 which won’t be completed till July 2019.  Release 16 and parts of Release 15 will then be submitted for consideration as an IMT 2020 Radio Interface Technology (RIT) at the July 2019 ITU-R WP5D meeting- the first meeting which will evaluate IMT 2020 RIT/SRITs.  All this info on much more is available at the 3GPP website with no log in required for access!
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Here’s the actual status of 3GPP specs directed at 5G standards (IMT 2020) from 3GPP’s Submission of initial 5G description for IMT-2020:

IMT submissions

This document December 2017 version of 3GPP Release 15) is the first of three planned steps spanning two releases from 3GPP, following the decision to submit preliminary descriptions of the solution only when milestones of high relevance are achieved:

  • Release 15 December 2017 version;
  • Release 15 June 2018 version and
  • Release 16  (scheduled for July 2019)

The final and fully comprehensive 3GPP IMT-2020 submission (encompassing both Release 15 and Release 16) for IMT 2020 is planned for July 2019.

To help the Evaluation Groups in their work, 3GPP is currently planning a workshop to present the 5G solutions to interested external bodies – specifically the Evaluation Groups – to allow a better understanding of the 3GPP technologies for 5G.

3GPP has agreed to organize a Workshop on 3GPP submission towards IMT-2020in October 2018. Some details are provided below:
•           Dates/Location:
–     October 24-25th, 2018;
–     Location: Brussels (European Commission facilities).
•           Target audience:
–     Independent Evaluation Groups, Regulators, Administrations, Industry Sectors interested in using 3GPP technologies.
•           Scope:
–     Present/describe the 3GPP IMT-2020 submission proposal
•           High level agenda/topics:
–     Specific technical features of the “5G” proposal
–     Submission templates
–     Self-Evaluation assumptions/results
–     Anticipations on the final submission with Rel. 15 and Rel. 16 contents
–     Overview of System Aspects

Here’s a free 3GPP webinar where you can get more information:

http://www.3gpp.org/news-events/3gpp-news/1966-webinar2_ran

As we’ve repeatedly stated, ITU-R WP 5D is the official standards organization for IMT 2020 (5G mobile).  They will evaluate RIT/SRIT submissions at their July 2019 meeting.  To date, 3GPP, South Korea, China, ETSI/DECT Forum, and TDSI have all indicated their intent to submit detailed RIT/SRIT proposals at the July 2019 ITU-R WP 5D meeting.

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AT&T to test “standards based 5G” at the Austin, TX Convention Center:

The FCC has just granted AT&T an experimental radio license to test what the mega carrier calls “standards-based 5G” in the convention center in Austin, Texas.  The test will begin at the end of July.   AT&T will run “up to 3” 28GHz fixed base stations in the convention center with connections to “up to 6” compatible user devices at up to 100 meters. AT&T promises demonstrations of 4K TV, volumetric video and eSports, as well mobile gaming, over the air, and more.

Indeed, Austin has been a hotbed for AT&T’s 5G developments. In February, the company announced plans to open a new 5G lab there. One of the first in-house projects built at the lab is the Advanced 5G NR Testbed System (ANTS), which AT&T describes as a first-of-its kind 5G testbed system that is proprietary to AT&T.

AT&T said in January 2018 that it plans to launch 3GPP release 15 based mobile 5G in up to 12 markets by the end of the year.  The mega carrier (and now via Time Warner acquisition an entertainment content company) has been using special events around the country to showcase its 5G technology.

In early June, AT&T staged its Shape conference at Time Warner’s Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, where it showed presentations on edge technologies, artificial intelligence and immersive entertainment, as well as a 5G demonstration with Ericsson and Intel.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, AT&T conducted a 28 GHz demo to give gamers an up-close look at how a 5G connection can give them a live gaming experience virtually anywhere there’s network coverage. That demo also involved Ericsson, Intel and ESL.

Also in June, there was the 2018 5G demo at the  U.S. Open, which took place at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Tuckahoe, New York. Ericsson, Intel and Fox Sports were also participated in that demo.

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Here are a few recent IEEE techblog posts related to AT&T’s 5G initiatives:
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6 thoughts on “Busting a Myth: 3GPP Roadmap to true 5G (IMT 2020) vs AT&T “standards-based 5G” in Austin, TX

  1. 5G Update from 3GPP via ETSI Magaine:

    At the 80th Plenary of the project, 3GPP has approved the completion of the ‘standalone’ version of the 5G NR
    specifications, following up on the ‘non-standalone’ completion in December 2017, for combined LTE and NR operation. The 5G standalone system has great significance, promising a broad expansion of services based on the new radio and on 5G core network capabilities, which are sure to attract new industries in 3GPP into this technology stream.
    Release 16 priorities are still evolving, but the focus will now turn to massive machine type communications and the delivery of ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), which – combined with the enhanced broadband speeds provided by the 5G radio – will deliver full-blown 5G.
    https://www.etsi.org/images/files/Magazine/Enjoy_ETSI_mag_July_2018.pdf

  2. AT&T Adds Trio of New Cities for 5G Launch in 2018
    said Friday that it is adding Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. and Oklahoma City to its 5G buildout plans, along with the already announced markets in Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco, Texas. The operator has said that it will launch 5G in up to 12 towns and cities in the US by the end of the year. (See AT&T Reveals Initial 5G Cities.)

    AT&T now has the most aggressive announced plans for delivering 5G in the US in 2018. The carrier has now said that it will provide 3GPP-based mobile — not just fixed — 5G in six named markets in the US in 2018.
    AT&T hasn’t yet said what spectrum band it will use for its initial 5G deployments, although many in the industry widely anticipate 39GHz. AT&T has so far previewed gigabit — or near-gigabit — speeds from its initial fixed 5G tests. Availability of devices is going to be an issue for all very early 5G. Light Reading has talked to several vendors recently, and the expectation is that some 5G hotspots will be available in the fourth quarter of 2018, with smartphones following in the first half of 2019.
    AT&T has previously said that it will launch with a “mobile puck” in 2018, apparently a type of a nomadic 5G router that converts a 5G signal to WiFi to connect other devices.
    https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/atandt-adds-trio-of-new-cities-for-5g-launch-in-2018/d/d-id/744830?

  3. 5G New Radio (5G NR), release 15 reallocates some existing LTE bands and introduces new mmWave bands up to 40 GHz. While initial 5G devices will implement some type of point-to-point wireless link, smartphone manufacturers are already planning the introduction of their products that contain multiple radios. Adding yet another radio adds new coexistence challenges that designers must address.

    5G NR mid-band (1 GHz to 6 GHz) and high-band (above 24 GHz) operate in the same or in adjacent spectrum to other wireless communications systems. With devices covering multiple bands, there is increased risk for sideband interference or new shared spectrum issues. 5G NR devices will need to operate adjacent to or even in the same spectrum as existing wireless communications systems without causing interference. Designers of 5G chipsets and components need to know the different types of coexistence interference issues, where coexistence interference is likely to occur, and how to test for coexistence interference.

    There are many types of coexistence interference, but two primary issues require new coexistence testing. The first involves testing in-band and out-of-band emissions and testing the impact of the 5G NR emissions on other radio signals. These tests are important because you must ensure that a 5G radio doesn’t cause interference with other radios in the device, with other radios signals in the channel, or with signals in an adjacent spectrum. Such testing is similar to 4G coexistence issues, but the increasing number of radios in a device and the increasing number operating bands where 5G NR will operate will compound the problem.

    Second, because a goal of 5G is to improve data throughput, shared spectrum will be a key feature in 5G. To operate simultaneously in a shared environment, new procedures and protocols must be developed to ensure successful operation in the environment. At the highest level, these policies specify that devices must listen before they talk. Specifically, a device needs to detect coexistence traffic and allocate or reallocate spectrum dynamically based on what it hears. This presents potential quality of service issues (QoS) issues for device users caused by latencies while the radio switches channels. This will require special tests not previously done on cellular devices.

    https://www.edn.com/design/test-and-measurement/4460926/Coexistence-Issues–Coming-to-5G-New-Radio

  4. 3GPP RAN for IMT 2020 by Balazs Bertenyi, Chairman of 3GPP RAN (Nokia)

    The Workshop on 3GPP submission towards IMT-2020 was held in Brussels, Belgium, October 24-25, 2018, hosted by the European Commission. The meeting was intended to inform the Independent Evaluation Groups and the industry in general about the 5G mobile communication system and corresponding evaluations that 3GPP has and will submit as a candidate for IMT-2020 to ITU-R. The workshop also had a live streaming service kindly provided by the host and announced shortly before the meeting via the 3GPP web page and the RAN reflector.

    Introduction:

    3GPP has been working extremely hard to bring 5G NR standards to the industry in an accelerated manner. Non-standalone 5G NR was completed in December 2017, and the corresponding ASN.1 has been stabilized in June/2018.

    Standalone 5G NR was completed in June 2018, and the corresponding ASN.1 scheduled to be frozen in September/2018.

    Some of the architecture options to facilitate migration from LTE to 5G NR will be completed in December 2018 still within Release 15.

    3GPP has also approved the work program for Release 16 containing a host of new and enhanced functionalities for 5G NR. The target completion for Release 16 is December/2019.

    3GPP submission to IMT2020 (ITU-R WP5D) will contain both Release 15 and Release 16 functionality.
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    Software- and Service-centric Transformation:

    One CoreNetwork fits all => Open & Flexible Enabler
    Telecom Operators => Multiple Stakeholders
    Phones => Things
    Procedures => Services
    Static Topology => On-demand Resources
    Dedicated Hardware => Orchestrated Resources
    Network Function => Virtualization
    Single Network => Slice

    5G Core Technologies (subset):

    Orchestration and Virtualization (NFV) – de-couple logical function from hardware
    Slicing – logical end-2-end networks tailed to customer needs
    Edge Computing (MEC) – resources where they are needed (URLLC)
    Exposure (API) – 3rd party access to 5G services
    Service Based Architecture (SBA) – stateless, open, flexible
    Harmonized Protocols & Access Agnostic – generic solutions
    ………………………………………………………………………….
    Physical Layer:

    · NR addresses a broad range of use cases with a flexible physical layer structure

    · Key enablers include

    o Ultra-lean design

    o Operability in a wide spectrum range

    o Low latency

    o Forward compatible design

    o Advanced multi-antenna techniques

    http://techblog.comsoc.org/2018/10/27/3gpp-workshop-imt-2020-submission-to-itu-r-wp5d-and-2-timelines/

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