Superb Article on What’s Wrong with Communications Industry by Steve Saunders, co-founder of Light Reading

Here’s the url for Steve Saunder’s spot on the money article:

The only add on I have to Steve’s  exquisite post is that the lack of standards is pervasive throughout the WAN space:

  1. SD WANs are a single vendor solution  – no UNI or NNI specified or being worked on by an accredited standards body.
  2. NFV: No standards for exposed interfaces, APIs (NFV orchestrator (NFVO) to/from virtual appliances), no backward compatibility between virtual appliances and physical appliances, no standard for network management or fault isolation/repair, etc.
  3. Every major Cloud Service Provider (CSP) has their own defacto standards/specs and APIs, e.g. Amazon, Google, MSFT, etc
  4. Every major CSP has their own connectivity solution(s) from customer premises network to their point of presence (PoP);  and their own method for realizing a virtual private cloud (VPC)
  5. Every CSP and network service provider has their own definition and implementation of SDN, including one or more southbound API (s) to/from Control Plane to data plane.  That southbound API was supposed to be ONLY OpenFlow according to the ONF.  The Northbound API was never standardized and there are many  options.  Many SDNs use an overlay network and virtualization of network functions while others do not.  Equipment and software built for one provider’s SDN won’t operate on another’s as the specs are different and usually proprietary.
  6. Far too many LPWANs for IoT:  Sigfox (by company with same name), LoRa WAN,  Weightless SIG (unidirectional Weightless-N, bidirectional Weightless-P and Weightless-W), NB-IoT, LTE Cat M1, many other proprietary versions like RPMA (from Ingenu).
  7. The message sets between “things”/IoT devices  and the cloud controller have not been standardized.  Neither is the functions of an “IoT Platform” which has become a wild west menagerie of incompatible platforms from hundreds of vendors.
  8. Every so called “5G” deployment planned before IMT 2020 has been completed (end of 2020) is proprietary.  The only thing in common seems to be use of 3GPP release 15 “5G New Radio” which is not a standard.   That implies mobile 5G will have severe roaming problems when moving from one 5G carrier to another.


And the list goes on and on and on……………………………………….

Without agreed upon standards, the upshot is that the big cloud players (Google, Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, etc) will dominate communications in the future (I think they already dominate all of IT!!)

Also, the rise of open source hardware organizations (OCP, TIP, ONF, etc) along with Taiwan/China ODMs have profoundly changed the communications industry.  With so many open source white boxes and bare metal switches available, there is little or no value add for vendor specific network equipment other than possibly higher performance (e.g. throughput).

IMT 2020 Status after ITU-R WP 5D meeting: 13-20 June 2018 Cancun, Mexico

The following table provides the schedule of when approval of the planned major IMT 2020 deliverables will be achieved following the procedures of ITU-R WP 5D:


July 2019

[Geneva] WP 5D #32

Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/YYY Input Submissions Summary

Finalize revision of Recommendation M.2012

Finalize draft new Report M.[IMT.AAS]

Finalize Addendum 4 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020

Workshop on evaluation of IMT-2020 terrestrial radio interfaces

December 2019

[Geneva] WP 5D #33

(max 5 day meeting)

Focus meeting on evaluation – review of external activities in Independent Evaluation groups through interim evaluation reports

February 2020

[TBD] WP 5D #34

Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/ZZZ Evaluation Reports Summary

Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/VVV Process and use of GCS

Finalize Addendum 5 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020

June 2020

[TBD] WP 5D #35

Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME]

Finalize Addendum 6 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020

October 2020

[TBD] WP 5D #36

Finalize draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT‑2020.SPECS]

Finalize Addendum 7 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020


High-level scopes for Working Party 5D working and Ad hoc Groups





To develop deliverables on services, forecasts, and also convergence of services of fixed and mobile networks which take account the needs of end users, and the demand for IMT capabilities and supported services. This includes aspects regarding the continued deployment of IMT, other general topics of IMT and overall objectives for the long-term development of IMT. To update the relevant IMT Recommendations/Reports.

To ensure that the requirements and needs of the developing countries are reflected in the work and deliverables of WP 5D in the development of IMT. This includes coordination of work with ITU-D Sector on deployments of IMT systems and transition to IMT system.




To provide the technology related aspects of IMT through development of Recommendations and Reports. To update the relevant IMT‑2000 and IMT-Advanced Recommendations.  To work on key elements of IMT technologies including requirements, evaluation, and evolution. To develop liaison with external research and standardization forums, and to coordinate the external and internal activities related to the IMT-2020 process.

To manage the research topics website and its findings.




To undertake co-existence studies, develop spectrum plans, and channel/frequency arrangements for IMT. This includes spectrum sharing between IMT and other radio services/systems coordinating as appropriate with other Working Parties in ITU-R.


New Zealand


To coordinate the work of WP 5D to facilitate efficient and timely progress of work items.




Activity of Working Group (WG) Technology Aspects:

i) continue developing draft new Document IMT-2020/YYY “Input Submission Summary”;
ii) review technology submissions for IMT-2020;
iii) finalize and provisionally agree to the specific technology updates for draft Revision 14 of Rec. ITU-R M.1457 (without detailed transposition references);
iv) handle contributions on IMT-2020 evaluation, out of band emissions and other subjects.
During this meeting, WG Technology Aspects established four Sub-Working Groups:
– SWG Coordination (Acting Chair: Mr. Yong WU)
– SWG Evaluation (Co-Chair: Ms. Ying PENG)
– SWG IMT Specifications (Chair: Mr. Yoshinori ISHIKAWA)
– SWG Out of band emissions (Chair: Mr. Uwe LÖWENSTEIN)

IMT-2020 submission:

SWG Coordination reviewed the received initial descriptions related to the proposal of candidate IMT‑2020 radio interfaces from ETSI and DECT Forum, and TSDSI; the detailed technical characteristics will be further reviewed at next WP 5D meeting.

The updated information from 3GPP and China on their proposals were also reviewed.  Information on the status of this work has been included in two draft liaison statements to proponents (5D/TEMP/553) and IEGs (Independent Evaluation Groups) (5D/TEMP/554) respectively.

In addition, development of the acknowledgment, SWG Evaluation reviewed two contributions on informative technical materials for IMT-2020 evaluation simulation. It was identified that the “IMT-2020 submission and evaluation process” web page (see below for more) can be used to share this type of “informative material” to facilitate IMT-2020 evaluation.


From the above reference webpage:

Requirements related to technical performance for IMT-2020 radio interface(s)

Requirements, evaluation criteria and submission templates for the development of IMT-2020

   Guidelines for evaluation of radio interface technologies for IMT-2020

Submission and evaluation process for candidate RIT/SRITs

​​ Submission and evaluation process and consensus building ​ Schedule ​ Process
​ Doc. IMT-2020/2 ​​ Schedule Process

Intellectual Property Rights

Huawei and NTT Docomo “5G” mmWave Field Trial in Tokyo

Huawei is highlighting a Tokyo, Japan trial in which the Chinese telecom/IT vendor achieved “5G” like download speeds of 4.52 gigabits per second over ~ three-quarters of a mile using 28 GHz millimeter-wave wireless technology.  The trial took place in downtown Tokyo, where a base station working over 28GHz frequency was located at Tokyo Skytree’s viewing deck, 340m above the city.

Working with Japan’s NTT Docomo, Huawei said it was confident of launching a commercial 5G rollout by 2020 (NOTE: the IMT 2020 set of 5G standards are to be finalized by year end 2020).

“The high-speed and long distance support is one of important technical challenges for 5G mmWave conditions. This successful long distance live-demo on a 5G mmWave is a groundbreaking achievement in our joint effort with NTT DOCOMO to build a fundamental 5G commercial environment. This success makes us more confident in realizing the goal of commercializing 5G by 2020,” said Gan Bin, vice president of Huawei’s 5G product line.

Huawei utilized its 5G base station for the test, which supports Massive MIMO and beam forming technologies. Huawei also provided the 5G core network and the 5G mm wave test user equipment.

Huawei anticipates conducting further testing at the world’s biggest 5G testing site in Beijing’s Huairou District.

The test comes amid a flurry of 5G testing and trials around the world.  For example, BT and Nokia announced plans for live “5G” tests in the UK earlier this month.


Verizon will offer residential “5G” fixed broadband service in 2018

Fully two years before the IMT 2020 “5G” standards are completed, Verizon announced at a “sell side analyst meeting” that it will launch a “5G” fixed wireless broadband service for residential customer Internet access in three to five U.S. markets in the second half of next year (2018). The company plans to use what they claim is “an early version of 5G” for the fixed wireless services.  It’s supposedly the same technology that AT&T is testing in several cities.

Author’s Note: 
As I’ve been saying for quite some time, these so called “5G” commercial service offerings are way to premature, because the ITU-R WP5D won’t even complete evaluation of the IMT 2020 Radio Access Network (RAN) technologies by end of 2020!

This piece in Barron’s seems to sum the mood up. Light Reading found out the “5G” equipmentt being used is supplied by Ericsson and Samsung.


Verizon’s first commercial launch is planned to be in Sacramento, CA in the second half of 2018. Details of that launch, and the announcement of additional markets, will be provided at a later date, the company said.  Verizon plans to commercially deploy this broadband fixed wireless access service to a total of three to five markets in 2018.

Verizon already trialed 5G residential applications in 11 markets in 2017.  The commercial launch is based on customer experience and on Verizon’s confidence in new technology powered by mmWave spectrum, the #1 US mobile operator said.

The company sees a potential market of 30 million households in the US for “5G” residential broadband services. The initial launch in 2018 is not expected to require significant capex. Speaking at an investor conference, Verizon said its capex in 2018 would be “consistent with the past several years.”  The top U.S. mobile operator previously said that its 2017 capex will be between $16.8 billion and $17.5 billion.

“This is a landmark announcement for customers and investors who have been waiting for the 5G future to become a reality,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon CTO. “We appreciate our strong ecosystem partners for their passion and technological support in helping us drive forward with 5G industry standards, for both fixed and mobile applications. The targeted initial launches we are announcing today will provide a strong framework for accelerating 5G’s future deployment on the global standards.”

This “5G” fixed wireless broadband access (FWBA) will use the 28 GHz spectrum band.  Verizon forecasts the total addressable U.S. market for that technology is approximately 30 million homes. FWBA seems like a great idea as no fiber or wires have to be installed, but it has many challenges.  Those include: poor propagation characteristics of millimeter wave spectrum.

A few slides from Verizon’s presentation:

Verizon fixed 5G slide 1

Verizon fixed 5G slide 2

Verizon fixed 5G slide 3

Verizon fixed 5G slide 4

At the investor conference, Verizon said  that 25% to 30% of the “residential broadband market” in the US is “addressable by 5G.” Verizon says that could be up to 30 million households. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2016 there were 125.82 million across the US.

In the trials so far, Verizon said that it has served a 19 floor apartment building with the 28GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G connection. The operator has been testing “home units” and “optional outdoor antennas” in the tests. Verizon has also been testing outdoor window-mount antennas that use an optical connection to an indoor WiFi router to distribute the signal.

Verizon is continuing to test its own fixed 5G specification in multiple markets. It will test the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) release 15 New Radio (NR) specification in the US in 2018.

–>Note yet again that 3GPP’s NR has not even been presented to ITU-R WP5D nor have any other Radio Interface Technologies (RITs).  However, 3GPP has indicated it’s intent to submit NR for consideration late in 2018 when WP 5D will start to evaluate RITs.




Matt Ellis, EVP & CFO, will speak at the UBS 45th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference on December 5th at approximately 8:00 AM ET.


New ITU-T Standards for IMT 2020 (5G) + 3GPP Core Network Systems Architecture

New ITU-T standards related to “5G”:

ITU-T has reached first-stage approval (‘consent’ level) of three new international standards defining the requirements for IMT-2020 (“5G”) network systems as they relate to network operation, softwarization and fixed-mobile convergence.

The standards were developed by ITU-T’s standardization expert group for future networks, ITU-T Study Group 13.

Note: The first-stage approvals come in parallel with ITU-T Study Group 13’s establishment of a new ITU Focus Group to study machine learning in 5G systems.

End-to-end flexibility will be one of the defining features of 5G networks. This flexibility will result in large part from the introduction of network softwarization, the ability to create highly specialized network slices using advanced Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and cloud computing capabilities.

The three new ITU-T standards are the following:

  • ITU Y.3101 “Requirements of the IMT-2020 network” describes the features of 5G networks necessary to ensure efficient 5G deployment and high network flexibility.
  • ITU Y.3150 “High-level technical characteristics of network softwarization for IMT-2020” describes the value of slicing in both horizontal and vertical, application-specific environments.
  • ITU Y.3130 “Requirements of IMT-2020 fixed-mobile convergence” calls for unified user identity, unified charging, service continuity, guaranteed support for high quality of service, control plane convergence and smart management of user data.

ITU’s work on “International Mobile Telecommunications for 2020 and beyond (IMT-2020)” defines the framework and overall objectives of the 5G standardization process as well as the roadmap to guide this process to its conclusion by 2020.

ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) is coordinating the international standardization and identification of spectrum for 5G mobile development. ITU’s Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T) is playing a similar convening role for the technologies and architectures of the wireline elements of 5G systems.

ITU standardization work on the wireline elements of 5G systems continues to accelerate.

ITU-T Study Group 15 (Transport, access and home networks) is developing a technical report on 5G requirements associated with backbone optical transport networks. ITU-T Study Group 11 (Protocols and test specifications) is studying the 5G control plane, relevant protocols and related testing methodologies. ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and circular economy) has assigned priority to its emerging study of the environmental requirements of 5G systems.

ITU-T Study Group 13 (Future networks), ITU’s lead group for 5G wireline studies, continues to support the shift to software-driven network management and orchestration. The group is progressing draft 5G standards addressing subjects including network architectures, network capability exposure, network slicing, network orchestration, network management-control, and frameworks to ensure high quality of service.


The “5G” wireline standards developed by ITU-T Study Group 13 and approved in 2017 include:



“5G” Core Network functions & Services Based Architecture:

The primary focus of  ITU-R WP5D IMT 2020 standardization efforts are on the radio aspects (as per its charter).  That includes the Radio Access Network (RAN)/Radio Interface Technology (RIT), spectral efficiency, latency, frequencies, etc.

To actually deliver services over a 5G RAN, a system architecture and core network are required. The core network provides functions such as authentication, session management, mobility management, forwarding of user data, and (possibly) virtualization of network functions.

3GPP Technical Specification (TS) 23.501 — “System Architecture for the 5G System” — is more commonly referred to as the Service-Based Architecture (SBA) for the 5G Core network.  It uses service-based interfaces between control-plane functions, while user-plane functions connect over point-to-point links. This is shown in the figure below. The service-based interfaces will use HTTP 2.0 over TCP in the initial release, with QUIC transport being considered for later 3GPP releases.

Service-Based Architecture for 5G Core
Source: 3GPP TR 23.501, July 2017, Figure 4.2.3-1
Source: 3GPP TR 23.501, July 2017, Figure 4.2.3-1
Various aspects of this new core network design are described in a new Heavy Reading white paper — Service-Based Architecture for 5G Core Networks.

There are many aspects to this, but the white paper highlights:

  • How the idea of “network function services” (3GPP terminology) aligns with the micro-services based view of network service composition
  • How operators may take advantage of decoupled control- and user-plane to scale performance
  • How the design might enable operators to deploy 5GC functions at edge locations, such as central offices, stadiums or enterprise campuses

The first 5G core standards (really specifications because 3GPP is not a formal standards body) are scheduled to be included in 3GPP Release 15, which “freezes” in June next year and will be formally approved three months later. This will be a critical release for the industry that will set the development path of the 5G system architecture for years to come.

Download white paper:  Service-Based Architecture for 5G Core Networks

Editor’s Note:


“The 3GPP Technical Specifications and Technical Reports have, in themselves, no legal standing. They only become “official” (standards) when transposed into corresponding publications of the Partner Organizations (or the national / regional standards body acting as publisher for the Partner).”


Ericsson Survey: 28% Network Operators Plan to Deploy 5G in 2018

Many operators have accelerated preparations for the arrival of 5G, and are increasingly looking to the enterprise as well as the consumer market as potential customers, according to a survey conducted by Ericsson.

A survey of operators that have publicly announced intentions to deploy 5G shows that 78% are conducting 5G trials, up from just 32% during a similar survey last year.  In addition, 28% of the respondents plan to deploy 5G next year (even though IMT 2020 standards won’t be finished till late 2020 and there has been no discussion of the 5G RAN). Operators have further evolved their business strategies for 5G services to extend beyond the consumer market.

“In the 2016 survey, 90% of the respondents pointed to consumers as the main segment in their 5G business planning,” Ericsson head of 5G commercialization Thomas Noren explained.

“This year, it is an even split between three segments and operators have identified business opportunities not only in the consumer segment but also with enterprise users and specialized industries.”

With operators considering the consumer market to be becoming saturated, 5G planning has been more evenly distributed across specialized industry segments (58%), business users (56%), and consumers (52%).

The industry segments considered to have the most potential include media and entertainment, automotive and public transport, with energy and utilities as well as healthcare being considered other attractive potential markets.

The survey also found that a clear majority of operators believe that the IoT will play an important role in the 5G ecosystem.

82% of technical respondents believe multiuser Massive MIMO is an essential feature for 5G. Multiuser Massive MIMO dynamically transmits data as highly focused beams to simultaneously send and receive multiple data signals over the same radio channel, enabling multiple users to use the same time and frequency resources, which, Ericsson points out, is key to many of the performance gains expected in 5G because it increases spectral efficiency for higher capacity and throughput from the same amount of spectrum.

Other features identified as essential to 5G are device-to-device connection (71%), network security (68%), virtualized network functions (68%) and network slicing (68%).

The Ericsson report found that in saturated markets, such as North America, operators envision monetizing 5G connectivity by taking market share from competitors with new features and performance (23%) or better pricing (18%); by migrating current 4G subscribers to 5G and charging more for 5G features (23%); and by expanding to new enterprise/industry markets (18%).


Huawei & Intel Partner for 3GPP “New Radio” Interoperability Testing

On Friday September 22nd, Huawei announced it will collaborate with Intel on the 3GPP “5G” New Radio (NR) based Interoperability Development Testing (IODT). The partnership will pave the way for pre-standard “5G” trials based on 3GPP release 15.  Note yet again, that 3GPP release 15 is targeted at “5G” trials, while release 16 will be a submission to the ITU-R IMT 2020 (real) 5G standards.

“The companies will conduct testing in real mobile, over-the-air environments directly connecting Huawei’s infrastructure and Intel’s terminal platform,” Huawei said on Friday.

The company added: “As one of the first globally converged 5G spectrum, C-Band will provide basic coverage and bandwidth for 5G. Further, C-Band will serve as one of the world’s first commercialised 5G frequency bands.  The verification of these features that Huawei and Intel have launched will point out the future direction for the industry.”

Based on Huawei’s 5G base station prototype and Intel’s 3rd Generation 5G Mobile Trial Platform (MTP), the companies will jointly verify the performance of key “5G” NR technologies which include: Sub-6GHz including C-Band, mmWave and mobility. The companies will conduct testing in mobile, over the air environments directly connecting Huawei’s infrastructure and Intel’s mobile terminal platform.

“Huawei is committed to driving the development and commercial deployment of 5G technologies. In the IMT-2020 field tests in Beijing, Huawei has fully demonstrated its competency and leadership in C-Band, mmWave, and downlink and uplink decoupling 5G technology. We are excited to work with Intel to help the industry drive the development of 5G terminals to promote sustainable development and ecosystem maturity of the industry chain,” said Yang Chaobin, President of 5G Product Line at Huawei.

“Intel has been actively collaborating with leading players in the Chinese 5G industry to accelerate 5G R&D tests and commercialization with Intel’s end-to-end 5G technology advantages. Based on the latest 5G NR technologies, this joint interoperability test with Huawei will further drive unified 5G standards and the industrial ecosystem in China and across the globe,” said Asha Keddy, vice president in the Communication and Devices Group at Intel Corporation.

Here’s the timeline for 3GPP release 15:


Ongoing 5G Collaboration & Trials:

At the global 5G testing summit at 2017 MWC this past February, Huawei, Intel, and their telecom operator partners jointly announced they would work to drive globally unified 5G standards through 5G testing, enhance cooperation among telecom operators, equipment manufacturers and vertical industry partners, create a unified 5G industry chain from chips, terminals, to network infrastructure and test equipment, and build a global 5G ecosystem. Commencement of IODT seems to be a viable way for Intel and Huawei to achieve this goal.

In January, Huawei demonstrated “5G” like speeds of ~ 35Gbps with Singapore telcos StarHub and M1.  The company is working with wireless carriers all over the world (x-US) in “5G” trials.

Intel is working with U.S. carriers AT&T and Verizon on 5G trials.  AT&T is using Intel’s 5G mobile trial platform in its Indiana, Texas, and Michigan trials, while Verizon relies on Intel for its 11 pre-commercial 5G trial networks across the nation.  Intel is also planning to use the Olympic Games to showcase its 5G “platform.”

Intel and Verizon additionally trialed 5G during the Indianapolis 500 motor race in May, using technologies such as beam forming and beam tracking to attain speeds in excess of 6 Gbps.

–>Having missed out on 4G-LTE by backing WiMAX instead, Intel apparently is trying to catch up by putting a lot of engineering resources into 5G development and collaboration.

Huawei’s Conclusion:

“5G standards are moving quickly to unify, and China will be among the first countries to widely deploy 5G networks. Huawei and Intel will work closely to accelerate the era of 5G.”


Global Data: 5G subs to outnumber 3G subs in South Korea by 2020

Is it possible for South Korea to have more 5G then 3G subscribers BEFORE the official “5G” = ITU-R WP5D – IMT 2020 standards are completed?

Indeed, South Korean mobile network operators plan to take an early lead in the deployment of 5G (perhaps because of the February 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang).  That would help them overcome stagnating traditional wireless service revenues, according to market research firm GlobalData.

The South Korean market’s 5G subscriber base is forecast to outnumber the 3G base by 2020, two years after the world’s first commercial 5G deployment during next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, GlobalData said in its report.

That will occur at a time when mobile voice service revenues are expected to decline at an average rate of 7% per year through to 2021, GlobalData telecom market analyst Malcolm Rogers stated.

“Operators around the globe faced with the same challenge, evolve to something more than a pipe provider or offer services that come with more utility. However, the Korean operators have been among the most proactive in growing business outside the core of communication,” he said.

“Whereas operators in some markets have been slow to react to the digital disruption caused by OTTs and internet giants like Google and Amazon, the players in South Korea have been investing in new digital business for years.”

The main South Korea wireless network operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ – are focusing on a range of non-core segments including industrial IoT, payment platforms, media and commerce, Rogers added.

From the report description (see Reference below):

SK Telecom and LG U+ now offer cellular based wireless payment platforms that allow small retailers, traders and vendors to conduct business from anywhere.  All three major telecom providers have also invested in B2C and B2B e-commerce operations, venturing into an entirely new industry. 5G networks will enable operators to provide new services for industry, government and consumers.  Korea Telecom (KT) has already completed trial to offer 5G enabled entertainment services such as high definition virtual reality and 8K mobile video while SKT and KT are developing driverless car solutions and security platforms based on 5G technologies.


South Korea plans to complete the deployment of a commercial 5G mobile network in the second half of 2019, Heo Won-seok, director of ICT and Broadcasting Technology Policy at South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, said during a keynote presentation at the Global 5G Event, May 25, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

KT recently launched an AI-based home assistant service while both SK Teleom and LG U+ are offering cellular based wireless payment platforms. All three carriers are investing in business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce offerings, which is an entirely new industry for those network operators.

Against this backdrop, 5G networks are expected to allow the network operators to introduce new services targeting industry, government and consumer markets, according to GlobalData.

For example, KT is already exploring offering 5G-enabled entertainment services including 8k mobile video streaming, while SK Telecom and KT are developing driverless car solutions and security platforms based on 5G technologies.


IMT-2020 standardization activity roadmap from ITU-T

ITU-T Joint Coordination Activity for IMT2020 (JCA‑IMT2020) is starting a new project called the IMT-2020 standardization activity roadmap. It will be based on the information provided by ITU-T SGs and activities outside of ITU-T. It is available from the JCA-IMT2020 website.

Editor’s Note:  As we’ve noted many times in these techblog posts, ITU-R WP5D has overall responsibility for the IMT 2020 standards, to be completed in late 2020.

IMT 2020 (standardized 5G) will not just be an extension of 4G.  In addition to offering increased bandwidth and capacity, as was the focus in previous wireless generations, 5G will provide very low latency, high density and high reliability. These capabilities will enable a variety of use cases, facilitating the creation of new, predominantly business focused services.


The objective of the roadmap is to support IMT-2020 standardization coordination. IMT-2020 is an important topic for the telecommunications industry, and many standardization-related activities are held in various entities.

The JCA is progressing this work in a form of roadmap of IMT2020 standardization.

JCA-IMT2020 will keep updating this roadmap, and therefore we solicit your information about updates. If you send us the latest information of your activity related to 5G as well as Network Function Virtualization (NFV), programmable networks, self-managed networks, slicing (including orchestration and capability exposure), fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and Information-Centric Networking (ICN) and elaborations that are strongly related to IMT‑2020, we will reflect it in the next version, which will be published after the next JCA‑IMT2020 meeting.

ITU-T member organizations may submit updates using the template to be found in Appendix below.

In addition, we invite the representatives of the ITU-T Study Groups, SDOs, fora to nominate a representative to this group.

JCA-IMT2020 will meet next time in Geneva on 10 November 2017, 16:00 -17:30 during the next ITU-T SG13 meeting.


Scott Mansfield



Tel: +1 613724 931 93169636171



Ying Cheng
China Unicom

Tel: +86-10-66259394

Fax: +86-10-66259154


Editor’s Note:

The Focus Group on network aspects of IMT-2020 was established in May 2015 to analyse how emerging 5G technologies will interact in future networks as a preliminary study into the networking innovations required to support the development of 5G systems. The group took an ecosystem view of 5G research of development and published the analysis in a Report to its parent group, ITU-T Study Group 13​.

The FG was terminated in December 2016 having completed it’s work.


Appendixtemplate to provide information on IMT-2020-related activities

Activity domain

Stage (topic)



Title of deliverable

Scope of deliverable

Current status

Starting date

Target date



Network Slicing



Use cases Framework Requirements Architecture Protocol


SDO, and WG if possible

Name | acronym | Reference

This document aims to …

Draft ITU-T Recommendation | International Standard | Specification

SoftBank, Ericsson plan 5G Japan trial in 4.5GHz band

Japan’s SoftBank plans to work with Ericsson to conduct a joint trial of “5G” in the 4.5-GHz band in dense urban areas of Japan.  The end-to-end trial will involve two 5G new radios, a virtual RAN and EPC, beamforming, Massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) functionality and test support services.

The trial is set to commence once Softbank obtains an experimental 5G license, Ericsson said.

Editors Note: Of course, no one knows what the “5G” air interface/RAN will be for this trial, because it’s not even been considered by ITU-R WP 5D which is standardizing IMT 2020. That 5G standardization work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

The key question is where will the “5G” endpoints/handsets come from?  Ericsson doesn’t make ’em any more!  Neither does Nokia which is involved in several other “5G” trials.  Huawei and ZTE “5G” trials are in better shape, because both vendors make handsets/smartphones as well as base stations.

3GPP Progress on 5G can be found in this presentation. It’s crucial to note that 3GPP Release 15 (to be completed March 2018) will aim at a first phase of expected “5G” deployments in 2020 and is dependent on LTE.  3GPP Release 16 (true 5G) will target a submission to the ITU WP5D IMT-2020 standards committee.


In March 2017, SoftBank was granted an experimental licence to conduct tests in the 28GHz millimeter wave band and teamed up with Ericsson for trials that were to be conducted in indoor and outdoor environments covering both mobile and stationary tests. That followed more basic tests in the 4.5-GHz and 15-GHz bands in Tokyo in 2016.

The operator also recently announced plans to deploy Ericsson’s Radio Dot system across Japan to improve indoor coverage in high-density urban areas. Softbank has been testing the technology since 2015.

SoftBank announced in June it was working with ZTE to run trials on the 4.5GHz band in areas of metropolitan Tokyo.

SoftBank also is planning tests on the 4GHz and 15GHz bands and began conducting pre-standard 5G field trials with Ericsson in August 2016.  It deployed Massive MIMO on its 4G network in the second half of 2016.

The wireless network operator, with a 19 per cent market share in Japan, aims to be one of the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services in 2020 or soon thereafter.  SoftBank wants to be one of the first global network operators to deploy 5G services once the standardization process is complete and seeks to position itself as a pioneer of 5G.


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