NGMN issues ITU-R framework for IMT-2030 vs ITU-R WP5D Timeline for RIT/SRIT Standardization

The NGMN Alliance has issued the “ITU-R Framework for IMT-2030: Review and Future Direction.” In this essential publication, NGMN welcomes the recent ITU-R report on the ‘Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2030 and beyond.’ This ITU-R report ( Recommendation ITU-R M. 2160) sets an important framework for future technology discussions towards 6G.

“Our publication underlines the importance of investment confidence for operators in order to deliver tangible value to customers while ensuring the commercial sustainability of current and future networks,” said Luke Ibbetson, Member of the NGMN Alliance Board and Head of Group R&D at Vodafone. “The capabilities identified for IMT-2030 should be able to be deployed as and when required, without compromising existing core connectivity services, and reflect a customer need that generates new value.”

There is close alignment between NGMN’s vision for 6G and the IMT-2030 framework. This close alignment covers vision, usage scenarios and essential capabilities, particularly related to practical and sustainable deployment and emphasizing harmonised global standards for mobile networks. NGMN goes on to provide recommendations and guidance on ITU-R aspects as it moves forward in the next stage of the IMT-2030 process, including:

  • New features should be able to be deployed as and when required, without compromising existing core connectivity services, which reflect customer needs and generate new values.
  • Evaluation should include interworking of IMT-2030 candidates with non-IMT systems.
  • Reinforcement of the importance of global standards for mobile networks within industry consensus-based standards organisations (e.g., 3GPP).
  • Consideration that advanced features introduced with the IMT-2020 network and/or a new radio interface might be candidates for IMT-2030.
  • Any new radio interface must demonstrate significant benefits over and above IMT-2020 in key metrics such as spectral and/or energy efficiency, overall energy consumption reduction and/or cost advantages.
  • Further work would be beneficial, as input to the process and next steps, to understand the commercial imperative for any extreme requirements of IMT-2030.
  • IMT-2030 should continue to evolve based on IP communications, considering cloud native solutions, disaggregation, and service-based architecture, ensuring both forward and backward compatibility. Support for self-organisation to manage complexity and emerging capabilities.

“This publication provides a realistic evaluation of IMT-2030 technologies”, said Michael Irizarry, Member of the NGMN Alliance Board and Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Engineering and Information Technology, UScellular. “For a new IMT-2030 radio technology to become widely adopted for 6G, it must demonstrate significant benefits across key metrics such as energy efficiency, traffic capacity and cost reduction”.

“We at NGMN look forward to collaborative efforts with the ITU-R and subsequent phases of activity to shape the future of IMT-2030,” said Madam Yuhong Huang, Member of the NGMN Alliance Board and General Manager China Mobile Research Institute. She added, “We hope the industry will prioritize the development needs outlined by NGMN on behalf of its operator members and actively participate in 6G research, contributing novel technologies, unlocking innovative business opportunities, and enabling the sustainable development of the society for the benefit of our customers.” 

Following the NGMN publications “6G Position Statement, an Operator View”, “6G Use Cases and Analysis”, “6G Drivers and Vision” and “6G Requirements and Design Considerations”, this latest publication “Analysis of ITU-R Framework for IMT-2030” marks the next step towards guidance for E2E requirements for 6G.

The publication can be downloaded here.

About NGMN Alliance:

The NGMN Alliance (NGMN) is a forum founded by world-leading Mobile Network Operators and open to all Partners in the mobile industry. Its goal is to ensure that next generation network infrastructure, service platforms and devices will meet the requirements of operators and ultimately will satisfy end user demand and expectations. The vision of NGMN is to provide impactful industry guidance to achieve innovative, sustainable and affordable mobile telecommunication services for the end user with a particular focus on Mastering the Route to Disaggregation / Operating Disaggregated Networks, Green Future Networks and 6G, whilst continuing to support 5G’s full implementation.

NGMN seeks to incorporate the views of all interested stakeholders in the telecommunications industry and is open to three categories of participants/NGMN Partners: Mobile Network Operators (Members), vendors, software companies and other industry players (Contributors), as well as research institutes (Advisors).

Collaboration is key to driving the industry’s most important subjects such as NGMN’s Strategic Focus Topics: Mastering the Route to Disaggregation, Green Future Networks and 6G.  NGMN invites all parties across the entire value chain to join the Alliance in these important endeavors.


At its February 2024 meeting, ITU-R WP 5D produced a working document on the IMT-2030 process for standardization.  The document describes the process and activities identified for the development of the IMT‑2030 terrestrial components radio interface Recommendations.

The time schedule for candidate RITs (Radio Interface Technologies) or SRITs (Set of Radio Interface Technologies is as follows:

Submission of proposals may begin at 54th meeting of Working Party (WP) 5D (currently planned to be 10-17 February 2027) and contribution to the meeting needs to be submitted by 1600 hours UTC, 12 calendar days prior to the start of the meeting.

The final deadline for submissions is 1600 hours Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), 12 calendar days prior to the start of the 59th meeting of WP 5D in February 2029. The evaluation of the proposed RITs and SRITs by the independent evaluation groups and the consensus-building process will be performed throughout this time period and thereafter.


Editor’s Note:  Don’t expect ITU-R M.[IMT-2030.SPECS] recommendation to be approved before sometime in 2031. The detailed specifications of each of IMT-2030 technology is scheduled for completion at ITU-R WP5D meeting #63 in June 2030.  Draft revisions/spec updates are scheduled to be completed at 5D meeting #64 in October 2030.

Just as with 5G/IMT-2020, IMT-2030.SPECS will only cover the 6G RIT/SRIT (radio interfaces).  3GPP will do all the work on the 6G non-radio/systems aspects.


The seven steps in the IMT-2030 standardization process is shown in this Figure:




NGMN publishes ITU-R Framework for IMT-2030: Review and Future Direction

Recommendation ITU-R M. 2160

Draft new ITU-R recommendation (not yet approved): M.[IMT.FRAMEWORK FOR 2030 AND BEYOND]

IEEE 5G/6G Innovation Testbed for developers, researchers and entrepreneurs

WRC-23 concludes with decisions on low-band/mid-band spectrum and 6G (?)

IMT-2030 Technical Performance Requirements (TPR) from ITU-R WP5D

6th Digital China Summit: China to expand its 5G network; 6G R&D via the IMT-2030 (6G) Promotion Group

IMT Vision – Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2030 and beyond


2 thoughts on “NGMN issues ITU-R framework for IMT-2030 vs ITU-R WP5D Timeline for RIT/SRIT Standardization

  1. Infrastructure: the key to Unlocking 6G’s Potential
    However, the ambitious promises of 6G can only materialise with a robust infrastructure to support them. This goes beyond just laying the groundwork; it’s about constructing a web of interconnected elements that seamlessly facilitate the flow of data. From the antennas that transmit signals to the fibre optic backhauls that carry data over long distances, every component plays a vital role. Decentralised data centres will become the heart of this interconnected ecosystem, ensuring data processing and storage are closer to the source, reducing latency. What’s more, the establishment of Internet Exchanges (IXs) in much greater geographical density will be essential, connecting mobile networks not only to fixed-line and satellite networks but also to content, applications, clouds, and who knows what new services 6G will enable. It’s the combination of these elements that will pave the way for the transformative potential of 6G, enabling applications that demand high bandwidth and low latency to flourish in a connected world.

    Decentralisation is a key facilitator here. The rollout of IX hubs combined with new fibre infrastructure and the addition of new data centres – particularly in remote areas – will make 6G deployment much easier. That’s because the more decentralised this infrastructure is, the shorter the distances that need to be bridged. In addition, this will mean there is less need for large roll-outs of decentralised micro data centres or edge clusters specifically designed for 6G use cases, as the 6G technology will be able to rely more heavily on the existing infrastructure ecosystem. Put simply, the decentralisation of network infrastructure is already happening, and couldn’t come at a better time for the deployment of 6G.

    Who is in charge of Building the Infrastructure Needed?
    This will depend on the sector and the use-case and will involve a wide array of stakeholders. For industrial scenarios, telcos would in general be very happy to take the lead and make 6G deployment for enterprises part of their business model. However, in many cases, we’re already seeing that large enterprises such as those in the automotive sector are already building 5G campus networks and plant connectivity themselves. These large companies have experienced teams on board who have built the corporate network, or have contractors responsible for their Wi-Fi deployment at production sites. They don’t need to build a large array for most campus set-ups, and the price difference is considerable between doing it themselves and involving a telco that wants to build a new business segment. Keeping in mind that Wi-Fi technology and standardisation is a constantly moving picture, it’s also fair to say that the “Wi-FI vs. 6G” technology gap will not be as significant as it appears today. What’s more, most industrial companies emphasise maintaining control over their infrastructure and remaining independent. They want to keep control over the choice of technology, the know-how, and the dataflows.

    Preparing for the Future: Steps Towards 6G Readiness
    As we anticipate the arrival of 6G around 2030, it becomes evident that preparation must begin now. Governments, industry players, and academic institutions must align their strategies with the evolving landscape of connectivity. While it may seem premature for some businesses still exploring the possibilities of 5G, it’s essential to recognise that 6G readiness is a gradual process. Just as ‘5G advanced’ is set for rollout in 2025, serving as an intermediary step between 5G and 6G, the industry needs to focus on incremental advancements that will bridge the gap. Spectrum availability, network scalability, and energy efficiency will be critical factors in this transition. To support the envisioned use cases of 6G, which demand unprecedented interconnectedness and real-time data processing, infrastructure investments must go hand in hand with the development of more efficient, automated, and highly scalable Internet Exchanges. This collaborative effort will be the foundation for realizing the full potential of 6G and ensuring it benefits not only businesses but also people’s daily lives.

  2. Research on 6G is gaining momentum, and governments worldwide are contemplating how this next-generation mobile standard aligns with their broader technology roadmaps.

    China outlined its vision in a 6G white paper published back in 2021 titled, “6G Vision and Candidate Technologies,” targeting a 2030 launch. In 2023, the government of India announced plans to prepare the operators for commercial 6G by 2030.

    The South Korean government aims to have commercial 6G networks operational by 2028, two years ahead of the International Telecommunication Union’s scheduled approval for the 6G standard. As the industry grapples with defining the roles of AI, Cloud radio access network (RAN), automation and ESG in the 6G era, we will stay away from the shiny objects and focus on the basics: what spectrum will be utilized for 6G and why ongoing RF innovation is crucial for transforming 6G from a concept into reality within the next five to six years.

    The journey toward 5G-Advanced and eventually 6G will not be trivial. It depends on a confluence of factors, with the type of spectrum being one of the more critical unknowns that can completely change the trajectory and velocity of the entire 6G ramp. After all, the 5G capital expenditure (capex) envelope would look entirely different if not for the large swaths of spectrum in the upper mid-band, coupled with mMIMO.

    Figure 1
    Figure 2 5G/6G spectrum chart.

    Presently, the prevailing notion is that the 6 GHz band and the centimeter wave (cmWave) spectrum will play pivotal roles as anchor bands in the 6G era with frequencies spanning from 6.4 to 15.3 GHz. This band will be akin to the functions carried out by the C-Band in the 5G era. Concurrently, the mmWave spectrum transitions from a backseat position in 5G to a potential passenger seat with 6G in this multi-layered spectrum approach, encompassing new and existing sub-7 GHz, cmWave and mmWave spectrum.

    However, achieving economic viability for the broader 6G coverage layer complicates the situation and poses challenges with small cell infrastructure. Consequently, the 6 to 15 GHz base stations will need to make use of the existing macro grid. Ideally, future mmWave systems will also increasingly leverage the macro infrastructure for MBB applications.

    As the saying goes, nothing in this world can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and the inevitability of greater propagation losses with rising frequencies. According to the Hata model for a medium-sized city, the received power drops by approximately 7 dB when comparing the 6 GHz band with the C-Band. Another loss of approximately 7 dB occurs at 12 GHz in comparison to 6.5 GHz.

    In essence, RF innovation becomes crucial for operators aiming to deploy large bandwidth and wide area 6G in new spectrum. At a broader level, there are three main efforts already part of the 5G journey, including boosting the RF output power, adding more transceivers and incorporating more antenna elements. For 6G deployments within the upper 6 to 15 GHz range, advancing mMIMO becomes indispensable to achieve equivalent upper mid-band coverage. Leading vendors are currently exploring configurations such as 128T/128R or 256 transceiver channels to compensate for different loss parameters. Though it is still early days, preliminary testing shows promise. For instance, Huawei has verified in small-scale tests that the propagation delta between the 6 GHz and C-Band is manageable with higher-order MIMO.

    So far, mmWave deployments have primarily centered around FWA and low-mobility MBB applications, partly due to challenges related to coverage and performance degradation in higher-mobility scenarios. In response, technology leaders are now boosting the EIRP to tackle coverage limitations. One of the suppliers has already verified that co-site deployments with macros using 70 dBm+ EIRP and intra-band coordination with sub-6 GHz spectrum, can deliver Gbps performance throughout the cell. More innovation is also required to smooth out the handovers. Notably, the UL is typically the limiting factor and more work is needed to address the approximately 20 dB gap between the mmWave bands and the C-Band.

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