Strand Consult: 5G in 2019 and 2020 telecom predictions

by John Strand – Strand Consult

Editor’s Note: This article is an abridged version of Strand Consult’s year end telecom review and 2020 forecast.  Copy edits (spelling, grammar) were made for correctness- content has not been altered.  Emphasis (bold font) was added in places the Editor deemed important.

Stand Consult’s full report is here.

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Introduction

Strand Consult has followed telecommunications industry for almost 25 years. 2019 was a year with much political and regulatory attention and a renewed appreciation for how the industry ensures the digital society that is ubiquitous, fast, safe, green, and inclusive.

5G became a mainstream topic in 2019 and rebooted the discussion of the value that telecommunications brings to society including innovation, security, and inclusion.

Consider the many transformations that the industry has delivered from the invention of the telephone, which required a person (a switchboard operator) to connect two people. Today the digital world, including its businesses, the communications of individuals, and the operations of the public sector is predicated on the advanced infrastructure that the telecom industry provides.

In 2019 Strand Consult published many research notes and reports to help telecom companies navigate a complex world. We focused heavily on the problem of Chinese equipment in telecommunications networks. While the media has largely focused on Huawei, the discussion should be broadened to the many companies that are owned or affiliated with the Chinese government including but not limited to TikTok, Lexmark, Lenovo, TCL, and so on. Although some of our customers disagree with our views, Strand Consult’s job is to publish what is actually happening and how policy decisions may affect their business in the future.

5G launched without a great vision
5G is coming faster and stronger than 2G, 3G or 4G. With each new G, implementation and adoption time gets shorter. However regulators in many countries are failing to keep pace with the technology, as they are behind on frequency allocation and rollout policy. Indeed few regulators have succeeded to make infrastructure rollout more efficient or auctions more speedy. The pressure is on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2020 to deliver an auction for the C-band so that the US can stay in the global 5G race and correct for the misguided history of handing out frequency to government users without accountability measures in place.

Strand Consult has worked on these problems for years and notes that it is still too difficult and expensive to role out new network in most countries. See our reports on How mobile operators can reduce cost for mobile masts and improve mast regulationWhy the Quality of Mobile Networks Differs, and How to deploy 5G: Best practices for infrastructure, regulation and business models which describe how to address these challenges effectively. In Denmark Strand Consult has helped to reduced total annual rental costs for mobile masts by about 20 percent. In most countries, 5G will be first marketed as an alternative to fixed line broadband. Wireless solutions based on 5G will help stimulate competition.

The performance of most EU countries on 5G is disappointing. Countries which used to lead the world in mobile standards are no where to be found with 5G. Unless the EU reverses course on its anti-investment telecom policy, don’t expect to see the EU lead in 5G or any other G in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 or for that matter in 2030. See Strand Consult’s research note Five Nordic Prime Ministers signed an agreement on 5G. Here are five reasons why Europe has already lost the 5G race.

5G will be a repeat of 4G in certain ways
Like 4G, most of the value in 5G will accrue to players other than the telecom operators providing the networks. In 4G, most of the value went to smartphone makers and over the top service (OTT) providers such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. In the vast majority of countries, ARPU and earnings for mobile operators have fallen year after year—even though the speed and quality of mobile networks has increased.  Strand Consult would like mobile operators to focus on how partnerships and creative business models can use 5G to create value for their shareholders. Our new research How to deploy 5G: Best practices for infrastructure, regulation and business models can help. Mobile operators have had successful revenue partnerships with premium SMS to develop the service market and MVNO brand strategies to reduce their sales & marketing costs. Operators need to look at these models to find partners for 5G.

OTT, IOT, and all the other services
Already with 5G, we see the world moving to the over the top (OTT) providers and when it comes to Internet of Things (IoT). This creates a challenge for how mobile operators can engage in partnerships and business models. The big question is whether it will be a market that will be dominated by classic mobile operators or by MVNOs like Cisco IoT and Wireless Logic that offer corporate clients one stop shopping. Unless mobile operators are smart, they will relegate themselves to dumb pipes again.

Regulation will hit telecom operators again in 2020
The need for greater security in networks and removing vulnerable elements will hit operators in 2020 with new standards for resilience. While Huawei likes to spin that restrictions on its equipment are mere trade war tactics, the debate about security will become more holistic to encompass the many elements of security including software, practices, and risk management. See Strand Consult’s note on the topic The debate about network security is more complex than Huawei.

The need for network security can be traced through a century of telecom networks. More recently, Strand Consult documented that in 2005, restrictions were placed on Chinese technology for the 3G rollout.  It is telling that the current US President defends European technology companies Ericsson and Nokia while many European operators defend their Chinese suppliers. It will be interesting to see whether the new European Commission will finally ”walk the walk” and demand the same safety and security standards of Chinese companies that European, US, Korean and Japanese firms have had to uphold in EU.

Similar to the financial industry, the telecommunications industry will be subject to accountability requirements and compliance to ensure security. The big question is whether it will be easier and cheaper to meet these requirements when using Chinese equipment. Strand Consult doubts this.

The mobile operator’s classic business model is probably dead and buried
Most of the world’s mobile operators have evolved their business model in face of competition and revenue erosion by OTT players. Mobile operator has realize that revenue from traditional streams of voice, SMS, and MMS is in free fall. In 2020 the industry will see a new direction in which operators divide into infrastructure companies and service companies. We believe that this split comes in many forms and models. We think we will see companies that make a classic split, but we also think that we will see companies that will make more creative splits in which divesting masters and towers is just the first step. We expect this trend could translate to spectrum.  We envision an industry divided into three elements: infrastructure, services and spectrum.

Such fragmentation will require a new view of spectrum and who owns and how to use spectrum. When it comes to spectrum sharing, dynamic spectrum sharing will open up a number of new technical possibilities. The big question is who is going to use spectrum going forward and who is going to own spectrum on the other.

To see the future spectrum market, look at the introduction of CBRS in USA, a model likely to spread and which is creating a new value chain and dynamic market. Many new and exciting companies have already entered and created equipment and services. This is the same dynamic underpinning the introduction of premium SMS, MVNOs and in connection with the app industry that has emerged at the top of the smartphone universe.

There are now four models of spectrum:

1. Licensed spectrum owned by mobile operators.
2. Dedicated spectrum with optional synchronized sharing (see German model).
3. Unlicensed spectrum with asynchronous sharing.
4. Unlicensed spectrum with synchronized sharing.

Of note is massive rollout of 5G and fixed wireless access (FWA) solutions. If 5G is hot in 2020, then 5G/FWA will be super hot in 2020.  Strand Consult’s forthcoming report on 5G/FWA will show how fixed line providers can extend their service and revenue with 5G. The business and economics of this development follow a similar dynamic to the MVNO market, and customers can reuse this knowledge from Strand Consult.

Editor’s Note:  There is no standard for 5G/FWA, as IEEE refused to submit IEEE 802.11ax to ITU-R and there no other contenders have been submitted.  FWA is not a IMT 2020 use case.

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Wireless solutions will battle FTTH for supremacy, but will also partner for opportunity
Remember the many pundits and policymakers who described fiber to the home (FTTH) as the only ”future-proof” solution. Not only was that prediction proven false, but wireless solutions are complements and substitutes. Those FTTH providers which have seen their business languish can get a boost from 5G. Mobile operators aiming for 4G/5G solutions can sharpen competition in the broadband market and cannibalize the DSL/fixed line market.

The year 2020 will see many operators will switch off their 3G network while 2G is on life support. Operators will see value by refarming spectrum to focus on 4G and 5G LTE solutions. The benefits of having a clean 4G / 5G network are so great that upgrading 2G / 3G / 4G to 4G / 5G will mean that operators worldwide will recognize that a total network swap is best.

During the period 2011 – 2016, operators worldwide implemented 4G. At that time, it turned out that the costs associated with rolling out 4G were similar to a network swap and upgrading the existing 2G and 3G networks. During this time many operators replaced their 2G / 3G networks with new networks supporting 2G/3G and 4G. In connection with the introduction of 5G, we will experience the same, and operators such as TDC in Denmark and Telia in Norway have chosen to replace their entire existing network. Read more: The real cost to rip and replace Chinese equipment from telecom networks

Privacy: EU, US and the rest of the world

The drive for online privacy regulation worldwide reflects distrust and disappointment in the large platforms, however regulation frequently has the opposite of the intended effect.  2020 will mark the two-year anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. For all the policymakers’ promise of a new level playing field, the largest platform companies have increaszed their market share and revenue in the region.  In some two decades of successive data protection regulation in the EU, small and medium sized internet companies have failed to grow, and consumer trust online is at its lowest point ever, according to Eurostat. This serves as a proof point for the historical US approach, supporting its risk-based policy which focuses on making rules based upon the sensitivity of data; preserving the mutual interests in accurate data between the user and collector of data; and solving for real, not theoretical, harms. The US has some two dozen information privacy laws and is predicated on a 220 year legal tradition which can deliver tougher oversight, enforcement and penalties that the European approach.  A new California law will come into play in 2020 which will likely precipate Congress to make federal rules.

A new appreciation for the role that telecom companies provide for society
2019 was the year in which the telecommunications industry may have to acknowledge that the demands placed on the communication solutions used by the police, the fire department and other emergency units will spread to the mobile networks. We are talking about requirements that are closely linked to the national security policy.

In Europe and in large parts of the world, the focus is on protecting a democratic social model where freedom, freedom of expression, privacy and human rights are important elements. Europe attempts to focus on the rights of citizens, including data protection, and many want to preserve a role for technology to improve the quality of life and add value to our society. In a dictatorship like China, technology is instrumental for the state to fulfill its goals, regardless of whether it improves quality of life or promotes human rights.

Conclusion
We hope that our research note inspires you over the year. 2019 was Strand Consult’s 24th year in business and its 19th year in making predictions in which we try to inform, delight, and challenge our audience. We invite you to see for yourself whether we were right over the years.

Thank you for another great year. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2020.

Sincerely,

John Strand, CEO

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Reference:

Again, the complete (unedited and uncut) report is available to read at:

http://www.strandconsult.dk/sw8487.asp?utm_campaign=23.%20december%202019%20%20Presse%20%20Christmas%20Greetings%20and%202020%20predictions

While 5G is live in 5 German cities only 4 cities covered by 4G

This past September, Deutsche Telekom said its 5G service was live in four German cities.   Yesterday, it was reported that only five cities in Germany are fully covered with 4G-LTE.  That’s according to a crowdsourcing test carried out by Umlaut (formerly P3) and published by the newspaper Die Welt.

German network operators Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica provide complete 4G coverage in Dortmund , Offenbach am Main, Erlangen, Frankenthal and Ludwigshafen get. In those cities, all households and the entire area have full 4G access.

According to the report, the city states of Hamburg , Bremen and Berlin are at the top of the federal states . Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate and Brandenburg are at the bottom of the list. Across Germany and across all three network operators, the Umlaut company rated the mobile network coverage in Germany with 914.5 out of a possible 1,000 points. 1000 points correspond to a full supply.

“The German networks are better than their reputation,” said umlaut telecommunications expert Hakan Ekmen.

In terms of federal states, the city-states of Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin rank at the top of the list for 4G coverage, according to Umlaut, while Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate and Brandenburg are at the bottom of the ranking.

The data collected included the quality of the signal of the network operators and the transmission speeds, among others. The study had access to nearly two billion samples from April to September. The data on network quality are measured automatically in the background of the smartphones in more than 900 different apps. The users do not have to carry out speed tests themselves.

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Germany has worse 4G-LTE mobile network coverage than many of its European neighbors, according to a 2018 study by the Aachen-based consulting firm P3 that was seen by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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References:

https://www.welt.de/regionales/nrw/article204565492/Bericht-Nur-fuenf-deutsche-Staedte-komplett-mit-4G-Mobilfunk.html?wtrid=onsite.onsitesearch

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/only-five-german-cities-are-fully-covered-with-4g-study–1321161  (on-line subscription required)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tech-ifa-deutsche-telekom/deutsche-telekom-5g-network-goes-live-in-5-german-cities-idUSKCN1VQ0KH

Posted in 4G

Upstart Wytec International 5G small cell technology for cable operators

Wytec International, Inc., a small San Antonio based technology company with with 11 employees, is ramping up to bring 5G mobile wireless services to cable operators.  The company wants to upend the MVNO industry in the U.S. so that cable operators are able to compete on par with mobile carriers. That means removing excess costs with which cable operators currently contend.  Wytec owns patented small cell technology now recognized as a key component to delivering 5G fixed and mobile wireless services.

“Our 5G mobile services, offered through a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Agreement, will include a three-option plan designed for cable operators to “compete on par” with U.S. mobile carriers,” comments William Gray, CEO of Wytec.

Since the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded Wytec its small cell patent known as the Light-Pole Node (LPN-16) on September 15th 2017, Wytec has been testing its unique features, capable of supporting a robust, “neutral host” dense wireless network, utilizing utility poles as its distribution access throughout America’s cities.  This feature collaborates exceptionally well with cable operators due to its existing utility pole access. In conjunction with its LPN-16 technology, Wytec’s MVNO solution includes carrier “roaming agreements” allowing cable subscribers access to a worldwide mobile network.

Wytec is nearing completion of a multi-test trial in the Central Business District (CBD) of Columbus, Ohio in preparation of securing its first MVNO Agreement to prospective cable operators in early March of 2020.

As Robert Merola, Wytec’s Chief Technology Officer and President of Wytec, states, “Our initial network deployment originates from one of the top ten Tier One providers in the U.S. and will expand accordingly in support of multiple MVNO cable operators throughout the U.S. We are excited to provide 5G services to the cable industry.”

Wytec has invested more than five years advancing its intellectual property related to fixed and mobile wireless distribution. In September of 2017 Wytec was awarded a “utility” patent on its LPN-16 Small Cell technology from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) clearing a path for the development of its first 5G network deployment in Columbus, Oho.

City of Columbus, <br />Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, OH is the site of Wytec’s first 5G trial

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In June of 2019, the FCC awarded an “experimental use” license to Wytec for the testing of the newly issued Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum operating in the 3.5 GHz frequency band. The company plans to add fifteen (15) additional markets under an agreement with the sixth largest cable operator in the U.S. (unnamed).

Wytec has been funding its LPN-16 R&D through private Regulation D 506c PPM Offerings (Wytec’s Pre-IPO Offering) to accredited investors and subsequently filed an SEC S-1 registration (Now Effective) in preparation for listing its shares on a public market.

About Wytec

Wytec International, Inc. is a facilities-based wireless operator located in San Antonio, Texas with wireless networks located in San Antonio, TexasColumbus, Ohio; and Denver, Colorado. Wytec owns six wireless patents with its latest patent focused on 5G small cell technology called the LPN-16. Wytec was named one of San Antonio’s Best Tech Startups in 2018 and 2020 by The Tech Tribune. Learn more at www.wytecintl.com.

Media Contact:
Brianna Lohse, Media Relations
(210) 233-8980
231436@email4pr.com

References:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wytec-offers-5g-mvno-services-to-cable-operators-300978257.html

https://www.wytecintl.com/

ITU Hosted ICT CxO Meeting: achieving ‘self-driving’ IMT-2020/5G networks

Introduction:

Innovation to achieve ‘self-driving’ IMT-2020/5G networks, collaboration in the interests of 5G security and the value of ‘open’ network concepts were among the key topics discussed at an invitation-only meeting of ICT industry executives (‘CxOs’) held last week in Dubai, UAE, in conjunction with the Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit.  The CxO meeting’s discussions revolved around industry preparations for IMT-2020/5G.

CxOs shared insights gained from early 5G deployments and trials of 5G-enabled industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications. They also discussed the importance of building public trust in autonomous driving and the safety-critical radiocommunications supporting Intelligent Transport Systems.

With a view to discussing industry needs and associated standardization priorities, the meeting brought together representatives of companies including du, Etisalat, Facebook, Fujitsu, Korek Telecom, Krypton Security, Nokia, Orange, Roborace, Rohde & Schwarz, SES Networks and TELUS.

The trends discussed at the CxO meeting reflect the evolution of ITU membership, in particular that of ITU’s standardization arm (ITU-T).   ITU-T has welcomed 51 new members in 2019, following 45 new members in 2018.

New ITU-T members include companies in energy and utilities, shipping and logistics, mobile payments, over-the-top applications, automotive, IoT connectivity, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, quantum communications, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The meeting issued a communiqué summarizing ICT trends of growing relevance to ITU standardization.

< Download the CxO meeting communiqué >

Self-driving networks:

The optimization of network management and orchestration – capitalizing on real-time network performance data, machine learning for prediction and self-learning, and the automated build and configuration of virtual network functions – will improve ICT services and introduce new cost efficiencies, said CxOs.

This optimization is becoming increasingly challenging, and increasingly important, as networks gain in complexity to support the coexistence of a diverse range of ICT services.

CxOs encouraged ITU to study the evolution of network operation and maintenance in view of increasing network complexity and the resulting importance of automation informed by machine learning.

Security:

CxOs discussed the progress achieved in responding to the ‘Ottawa Accord’ considered by ITU’s annual Chief Technology Officer (CTO) meeting in Budapest, Hungary, 8 September 2019.

The Ottawa Accord is a set of security priorities developed in June 2019 by network operators, standards bodies and industry associations.

The Budapest CTO meeting endorsed the findings of the Ottawa Accord in relation to three security priorities:

  • Global threat exchange: Common understanding of security threats and common terminology to enable the sharing of threat intelligence.
  • Best practices for operational security: Best practices for 5G security and widespread commitment to infrastructure protection.
  • Security incentives: Measurement schemes based on agreed metrics could bring attention to prevailing levels of security and create incentives for investment in security.

CxOs echoed the sentiment of the Budapest CTO meeting that a holistic approach to 5G security could receive valuable support from a global centre for the development of security solutions and their testing and assurance. Such a ‘living lab’ open to multiple vendors, said CTOs in Budapest, could bring cohesion to 5G security efforts as well as reduce the costs of testing security solutions.

CxOs with experience in the early commercial deployment of 5G reiterated the importance of investment in fibre. Fibre-optic networks form the ‘backbone’ of the ICT ecosystem. Investment in fibre continues to rise, recognizing the importance of this investment to the 5G vision.

Experience with industrial IoT applications as part of the development of 5G-enabled smart sea ports and smart factories, said CxOs, has highlighted the importance of network slicing and shown edge computing to be capable of supporting low latencies. CxOs’ experience with 5G-enabled smart factories, in particular, has shown such factories to be capable of highly efficient production and quality control.

Network infrastructure sharing:

Infrastructure sharing has the potential to assist network operators in reducing time-to-market for new solutions, gaining cost efficiencies and increasing coverage in certain network deployment scenarios.

CxOs illustrated possible scenarios for the sharing of infrastructure such as core networks, central offices, backhaul infrastructure, towers, and RANs.

The meeting considered an example of ‘Multi-Core Operator Networks’, networks said to be capable of reducing an operator’s infrastructure investments through sharing, while improving network performance.

Open RAN:

General-purpose ‘white box’ hardware, standardized interfaces and virtualized network elements are the foundations of the ‘open RAN’ concept, said CxOs.

Open RAN could support industry in avoiding the challenges that may result from proprietary RAN interfaces, challenges such as RAN equipment vendor lock-in, limited interoperability between different vendors’ RAN equipment, and limited scope for active RAN sharing.

CxOs offered the view that the standardization of open, interoperable RAN interfaces and RAN functional architecture could support a diverse business ecosystem in deploying and operating RANs with considerable cost efficiency.

AI on the road:

ITU has established a new Focus Group on ‘Artificial intelligence for autonomous and assisted driving’ to work towards the establishment of international standards to monitor and assess the performance of the AI ‘Drivers’ in control of automated vehicles.

CxOs discussed the ITU Focus Group’s aim to devise a ‘Driving Test’ for AI ‘Drivers’. The proposed test could become the basis for an International Driving Permit for AI. The right to hold this permit would be assessed continuously, based on the AI Driver’s behavioural performance on the road.

CxOs highlighted their support for the Focus Group’s expected contribution to public trust in automated vehicles as well as the value of ITU collaboration with UNECE in this regard.

Recognizing the importance of new radio technology and applications to Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), CxOs highlighted the importance of conformance assessment based on harmonized test requirements.

According to the CxOs, compliance, conformance and quality testing will make a key contribution to industry and consumer confidence in safety-critical radiocommunications in the ITS context. Conformance assessment would also support ITS interoperability and cost efficiency, said CxOs.

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The participating organizations were:
Arab Information & Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO), du, Etisalat, Facebook,
Fujitsu, Korek Telecom, Krypton Security, Nokia, Orange, Roborace, Rohde and Schwarz, SES
Networks, Telecom Review North America, Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA), TELUS

References:

Intelligence, security and cost efficiency: Industry executives highlight priorities for the 5G era

https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/tsbdir/CxO/Documents/Communique%20-%20CxO%20-%20Dubai%202019.pdf

ITU-R WP 5D Dec 2019 meeting #33: activity related to IMT 2020 RIT/SRIT

by ITU-R WP 5D Chair persons with Editor’s Note (and copy edits) by Alan J Weissberger, IEEE Techblog Content Manager

Main activities of WP5D WG Technology Aspects during meeting #33 (Dec 10-13 in Geneva) were:

i) Review additional materials provided by the candidate IMT-2020 RIT/SRIT proponents ETSI (TC DECT) and DECT Forum, Nufront and TSDSI, per the agreed way forward at the 32nd meeting of WP 5D regarding their respective submissions;

ii) Review of external activities in Independent Evaluation Groups (for candidate IMT 2020 RIT/SRITs) through interim evaluation reports;

iii) Continue work on revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1457-14 (specification of terrestrial radio interfaces for IMT-2000)

iv) Start working on Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME].

v) Start working on Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS].

During this meeting, WG Technology Aspects established three Sub-Working Groups (SWG):

–                 SWG Coordination (Chair: Mr. Yoshio HONDA)

–                 SWG Evaluation (Co-Chair: Ms. Ying PENG)

–                 SWG IMT Specifications (Chair: Mr. Yoshinori ISHIKAWA)

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Review of updated materials of IMT-2020 submissions:

As per the agreed way forward at the 32nd WP 5D meeting regarding candidate IMT-2020 RIT/SRIT submissions of ETSI (TC DECT) and DECT Forum, Nufront and TSDSI, the respective proponents provided updated materials of their submissions on September 10th of 2019.

After review of these updated materials of submissions under the IMT-2020 Process Step 3 – Submission / reception of the RIT and SRIT proposals and acknowledgement of receipt, the meeting determined that the submissions of ETSI (TC DECT) and DECT Forum, Nufront and TSDSI are “complete” per Section 5 of Report ITU-R M.2411 (Requirements, evaluation criteria and submission templates for the development of IMT-2020).

Editor’s Note:  Also see ITU-R Report M.2412: Guidelines for evaluation of radio interface technologies for IMT-2020.

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During the course of this review, documents for observations on the submissions were updated.

Review of interim evaluation reports:

A workshop on IMT-2020 terrestrial radio interfaces evaluation was conducted at beginning of this WP 5D meeting (Dec 10-11, 2019), where the registered independent evaluation groups presented their activities and findings. In addition, some independent evaluation groups also submitted interim evaluation reports. The meeting reviewed these contributions and recorded them.

Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME]:

The meeting created the draft detailed workplan and draft working document towards a prelimininary draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME] which will collect outcomes from Step 4 to 7 in IMT-2020 development process. Those two documents were carried forward to the next meeting for further work.

Detailed schedule for development of IMT-2020.SPECS:

Detailed workplan for development of draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] and its working document were developed in the meeting.  A related liaison statement to the external organizations was also developed.

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Editor’s Note: 

IMHO, the IMT 2020.SPECS schedule is NOT realistic, mainly because there isn’t enough time for 5D WG Technology Aspects to evaluate 3GPPs expected Release 16 submission at their June 2020 meeting.  Note that China, Korea and India (TSDSI) have all based their IMT 2020 RIT submissions on 3GPP Release 15 “5G NR” data plane which must be enhanced in IMT 2020.SPECs to meet the ultra high reliability/ultra high latency performance requirements for both the data and control planes.

There are only two more WP 5D meetings in 2020 (see last section below) after the June 2020 5D meeting, yet a complete IMT 2020.SPECs must be submitted by Nov 23, 2020 to ITU-R SG 5 (5D’s parent) for approval.  If not, IMT 2020 will become IMT 2021 (or later if companion IMT 2020 recommendations have not been approved).  What good is it to have a 5G data plane without ultra low latency/ultra high reliability and a 4G (EPC) packet core?  With no 5G network management or 5G security specified (presumably by ITU-T)?

Specifically, what if the 5G Mobile Packet Core (3GPP 5GC), enhanced 5G control plane/signaling, 5G network management, 5G security, etc (all in 3GPP Release 16) are not completed in time to be considered by ITU-R or ITU-T in 2020?

Another danger is IMT 2020.SPECS revision control with multiple RIT submissions dependent on 3GPP 5G NR.  What if some proponents stick with Release 15 NR while others adopt Release 16 NR in July 2020?  And how can all the different proponent IMT 2020 RITs be harmonized to ensure interoperability and roaming?

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Objective for the 34th WP 5D meeting – Feb 2020 in Geneva:

The key objectives of WG Technology Aspects for the 34th WP 5D meeting are as follows:

i) Review of external activities and evaluation reports of Independent Evaluation Groups.

ii) Complete evaluation reports summary (IMT-2020/ZZZ).

iii)    Continue working on a new Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME].

iv) Continue the work on “Over-the-air (OTA) TRP field measurements for IMT radio equipment utilizing AAS” based on the requested response from 3GPP and expected input from other organisations and administrations.

v) Continue working on revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1457-14.

vi) Continue working on new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020. SPECS]

Submitted by Ying Peng, Chair, SWG Evaluation

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M.[IMT-2020.SPECS]:

Under agenda item 4 (PDN Rec. ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS]), the meeting received two input contributions from Korea, Japan and China.

Both contributions proposed the detailed work plan for developing the new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] and the working document towards a preliminary draft new Recommendation.

The meeting reviewed those proposals and discussed the work plan and contents for the working document and agreed the detailed work plan and the working document towards a PDNR (preliminary draft new report).

Detailed workplan and working document towards PDNR M. [IMT‑2020.OUTCOME]

The meeting created the draft detailed work plan and draft working document towards PDNR M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME] based on the carried forward document and input contributions to this meeting. Two TEMP Documents were created accordingly and will be carried forward to the next meeting.

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Meeting #33 also created a liaison statement to relevant External Organizations (RIT/SRIT Proponents, potential GCS Proponent(s) of IMT-2020) to request the inputs to 34th and 35th meetings in accordance with Doc. IMT-2020/21. WG-IMT Specification seeks approval of this liaison in WG Technology Aspects Plenary and WP 5D Plenary.

Submitted by Yoshinori ISHIKAWA, Chairman, SWG IMT Specifications

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RECOMMENDATION ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS]:

Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of International
Mobile Telecommunications-2020 (IMT-2020)

Scope:

This Recommendation identifies the terrestrial radio interface technologies of International Mobile Telecommunications-2020 (IMT-2020) and provides the detailed radio interface specifications.

Korea, Japan:

[These radio interface specifications detail the features and parameters of IMT-2020, which enable worldwide compatibility, international roaming, access to the services under the usage scenarios including enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine type communications (mMTC) and ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC).]

China:

[These radio interface specifications detail the features and parameters of IMT-2020. This Recommendation includes the capability to ensure worldwi.de compatibility, international roaming, access to enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine type communications (mMTC) and ultra reliability and low latency communications (URLLC).]

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For more details on skeleton IMT 2020.SPECs and related work plan, please see:

China ITU-R WP5D submission: work plan and working document for IMT-2020.SPECS

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Because of their ultra critical importance we repeat the objectives of the last three WP 5D meetings in 2020:

Meeting No. 35 (Jun. 2020, [China])

1   Receive and review information, including the texts for its RIT/SRIT overview sections, List of Global Core Specifications and Certification B by GCS Proponents[1].

2   Reach its conclusion on the acceptability of the proposed materials for inclusion in the working document towards PDN Rec. ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS].

3   Finalizes the working document including specific technologies (not necessarily including the detailed transposition references) and provisionally agree for promoting the document to preliminary draft new Recommendation.

4   Provide and send liaison of the provisionally agreed preliminary draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] to the relevant GCS Proponents and Transposing Organizations for their use in developing their inputs of the detailed references.

Meeting No. 36 (Oct. 2020, [India])

1   Update PDNR if there are modifications proposed by GCS Proponent.

2   Perform a quality and completion check of the provisionally agreed final draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] without the hyperlinks.

3   Have follow-up communications initiated with GCS Proponents and/or Transposing Organizations, if necessary.

Meeting No. 36bis (Nov. 2020, Geneva)

1   Receive Transposition references and Certification C from each Transposing Organization.

2   Perform the final quality and completeness check (with detailed transposition references) of the preliminary draft new Recommendation and promotes it to draft new Recommendation.

3   —>Send the draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] to Study Group 5 for consideration (at their Nov 23-24, 2020 meeting).

[1]   If the GCS Proponentrnal (potential GCS Proponent) decides to use DIS style, it doesn’t need to submit List of Global Core Specifications but needs to submit full materials for describing its RIT/SRIT in the Recommendation and Form B.

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Century Link selected by Internet2 for Advanced Optical Fiber & Professional Services

Internet2, a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community, selected CenturyLink to provide the fiber network and related professional services for the technology community’s network infrastructure.  Contractual fiber-use agreements extend through at least 2042.

The forthcoming Internet2 network will use the company’s low-loss optical fiber for the majority of its footprint.  CenturyLink’s optical fiber is ITU-T G.652.D compliant and designed to be optimized for high bit rate coherent systems using advanced modulation schemes supporting 100G and above. Internet2 also chose CenturyLink to provide the professional services to migrate to the new platform, which will be equipped with a flex-grid open-line system from Ciena.

“We believe the combination of the most advanced fiber from CenturyLink with the latest coherent transmission technologies from Ciena provides enormous opportunities to enable research and academic pursuits in the United States,” said Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services for Internet2, in a prepared statement.

“Whether it is tracking the origins of Neutrinos in the Antarctic, comparing gene sequences or studying the climate, this new optical network, with its ability to span very long distances at very high bandwidths [with] improved efficiency, is essential to providing the best research infrastructure for data-intensive science on the globe.”

Map of Internet2® Network Advanced Layer 1 Service, December 2019 (Source: CenturyLink) – Image courtesy of Matthew Wilson 

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Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network. The network currently connects 321 U.S. universities, 60 government agencies, 43 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 100,000 community anchor institutions, among others.

“One of America’s leading research and education organizations (Internet2) placed its trust in CenturyLink to upgrade its network to a high-speed, high-capacity, fiber-optic network that will support today’s leading-edge research projects,” said Sonia Ramsey, CenturyLink’s vice president for the state and local government and education market. “Internet2’s selection of CenturyLink recognizes the company’s long-standing relationship with the research and education community and our commitment to meet the community’s ever-increasing advanced technology needs,” she added.

CenturyLink recently overpulled a large portion of its national fiber footprint and also realigned amplifier spacing to create more efficient resources for optimized optical networks. Internet2 will migrate its segments to the new fiber on all available segments and continue to work with CenturyLink to migrate the remaining segments as their build-out continues.

With the low-loss optical fiber and the upgraded optronics kit, Internet2 will have the ability to reach anywhere on its domestic footprint with an unregenerated wavelength of up to 200G. Many high-use spans on Internet2’s Network will also support 400G and 800G wavelengths with existing technologies and higher bitrates are expected in the coming years as new DSP technology comes into production. Internet2 has been able to achieve unregenerated spans without employing Raman amplification, a reduction in complexity and improved efficiency both at installation and for ongoing operations.

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About Internet2:

Internet2® is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 serves 321 U.S. universities, 60 government agencies, 43 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 100,000 community anchor institutions, over 1,000 InCommon participants, 56 leading corporations working with our community, and 70 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.

Internet2 delivers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions that leverages, integrates, and amplifies the strengths of its members and helps support their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network that was built to deliver advanced, customized services that are accessed and secured by the community-developed trust and identity framework.

Internet2 offices are located in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; Washington, D.C.; and West Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit www.internet2.edu or follow @Internet2 on Twitter.

About CenturyLink:

CenturyLink is a technology leader delivering hybrid networking, cloud connectivity, and security solutions to customers around the world. Through its extensive global fiber network, CenturyLink provides secure and reliable services to meet the growing digital demands of businesses and consumers. CenturyLink strives to be the trusted connection to the networked world and is focused on delivering technology that enhances the customer experience. Learn more at http://news.centurylink.com/.

Media Contact
Sara Aly, Internet2
saly@internet2.edu

 

References:

http://news.centurylink.com/2019-12-17-Internet2-Selects-CenturyLinks-Advanced-Optical-Fiber-and-Professional-Services-to-Maximize-Research-and-Education-Network-Performance

 

Internet2 Chooses CenturyLink Fiber Network

 

AT&T targets 50% coverage in its FTTH regions; U.S. Fiber Broadband Remarkable Progress

AT&T’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology could provide 50% of the connections in areas where it’s available within the next three years, the company says.   3.1 million people were subscribing to AT&T’s FTTH service as of June 2019, a 57% rate of growth from year to year.

“We have proof of how we do this historically,” Jeffrey McElfresh, CEO AT&T Communications, said at the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Broker Conference. “As you look at the fiber that we built out in the ground in 2016, at the three-year mark, we roughly approach about a 50% share gain in that territory. And so for 2020, with the bulk of our investments behind us in this fiber plan, our tactics are to drive penetration with the fiber that we’ve built.”

McElfresh said “the economic performance of our broadband business is very strong, setting aside subscriber losses in the lower speed DSL segment in the copper network.”

In markets where AT&T faces off against Comcast, Charter Communications and other cable broadband providers, “where we have fiber, we win and win handily,” he added. In a June 4 note to investors, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said that AT&T had gained 1.1 million FTTH customers in the previous year, bringing its base at the time to 3.1 million subscribers, an impressive 57% annual growth rate.

“But from whom are these market share gains coming?” Moffett asked. “The short answer appears to be …. from AT&T itself.”

Indeed, rather than poaching customers from cable operators, AT&T has largely been upgrading existing DSL and U-verse users.

In any event, the No. 2 U.S. wireless operator appears to be charging forward with the strategy. It plans to bundle its new premium virtual pay TV service, AT&T TV, to drive FTTH growth.

At the Barclays conference, McElfresh said AT&T TV — which has been soft-launched in New York and a dozen other markets — will roll out nationally in February. That livestreamed service, which comes with a two-year contract, requires no truck rolls or satellite launches and requires half the capital spending of DirecTV satellite TV.

“Our growth agenda is on fiber and our entertainment group, and on the AT&T TV product that will be offered nationwide,” McElfresh said.

Image result for image of fiber to the home

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Separately,  a new report notes the tremendous progres fiber broadband has made in the U.S. recently.  More than 20 million U.S. homes (20.5 million) are now connected to fiber broadband service, according to new research conducted by RVA for the Fiber Broadband Association. That’s a substantial increase since last year, when a similar FBA report found 18.4 million U.S. fiber broadband homes.

Fiber broadband has been making gains against DSL and fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN). According to the researchers, 2019 was the first year when more U.S. homes received broadband service via fiber than via DSL or FTTN. That milestone makes fiber broadband the second most popular choice after cable modem service.

References:

https://www.multichannel.com/news/at-t-will-grow-on-fiber-diet

https://www.telecompetitor.com/report-finds-20-5-million-u-s-fiber-broadband-homes-nearly-40-of-u-s-homes-passed/

AT&T and Verizon to use Integrated Access and Backhaul for 2021 5G networks

AT&T sketched out its plans to start testing Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) technology during 2020, saying it can prove a reliable backhaul alternative to fiber in certain cases, such as expanding millimeter-wave locations to reach more isolated areas. Verizon also confirmed, without adding any details, that it plans to use IAB, which is an architecture for the 5G cellular networks in which the same infrastructure and spectral resources will be used for both access and backhaul.   IAB will be described in 3GPP Release 16 (see 3GPP section below for more details).

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“Fiber is still required in close proximity to serve the capacity coming from the nodes, so if it can be extended to each of the nodes, it will be the first choice,” said Gordon Mansfield, VP of Converged Access and Device Technology at AT&T. in an statement emailed to FierceWireless.

“From there, IAB can be used to extend to hard to reach and temporary locations that are in close proximity. As far as timing, we will do some testing in 2020 but 2021 is when we expect it to be used more widely,” he said.

Verizon also told Fierce that it has plans to incorporate IAB as a tool. It doesn’t have any details to share at this time, but “it’s certainly on the roadmap,” an unknown Verizon representative said.

Earlier this year, Mike Dano of Lightreading reported:

Verizon’s Glenn Wellbrock said he expects to add “Integrated Access Backhaul” technology to the operator’s network-deployment toolkit next year, which would allow Verizon to deploy 5G more easily and cheaply into locations where it can’t get fiber.

“It’s a really powerful tool,” Glenn Wellbrock, director of architecture, design and planning for Verizon’s optical transport network, explained during a keynote presentation here Thursday at Light Reading’s 5G Transport & the Edge event.

Wellbrock said IAB will be part of the 3GPP’s “Release 16” set of 5G specifications, which is expected to be completed by July 2020. However, Wellbrock said it will likely take equipment vendors some time to implement the technology in actual, physical products. That means 2020 would be the earliest that Verizon could begin deploying the technology, he added.

Wellbrock said IAB would allow Verizon to install 5G antennas into locations where routing a fiber cable could be difficult or expensive, such as across a set of train tracks.

However, Wellbrock said that IAB will be but one tool in Verizon’s network-deployment toolbox, and that Verizon will continue to use fiber for the bulk of its backhaul needs. Indeed, he pointed out that Verizon is now deploying roughly 1,400 miles of new fiber lines per month in dozens of cities around the country.

He said Verizon could ultimately use IAB in up to 10-20% of its 5G sites, once the technology is widely available. He said that would represent an increase from Verizon’s current use of wireless backhaul technologies running in the E-band; he said less than 10% of the operator’s sites currently use wireless backhaul. He said IAB is better than current wireless backhaul technologies like those that use the E-band because it won’t require a separate antenna for the backhaul link. As indicated by the “integrated” portion of the “integrated access backhaul” moniker, IAB supports wireless connections both for regular 5G users and for backhaul links using the same antenna.

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According to 5G Americas, the larger bandwidths associated with 5G New Radio (NR), such as those found in mmWave spectrum, as well as the native support of massive MIMO and multi-beams, are expected to facilitate and/or optimize the design and performance of IAB.

5G Americas maintains that the primary goals of IAB are to:

  • Improve capacity by supporting networks with a higher density of access points in areas with only sparse fiber availability.
  • Improve coverage by extending the range of the wireless network, and by providing coverage for isolated coverage gaps. For example, if the user equipment (UE) is behind a building, an access point can provide coverage to that UE with the access point being connected wirelessly to the donor cell.
  • Provide indoor coverage, such as with an IAB access point on top of a building that serves users within the building.

5G Americas also said that in practice, IAB is more relevant for mmWave because lower frequency spectrum may be seen as too valuable (and also too slow) to use for backhaul. The backhaul link, where both endpoints of the link are stationary, is especially suitable for the massive beam-forming possible at the higher frequencies.

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3GPP Release 16 status of work items related to IAB:

(Note: Study is 100% complete, but others are 0% or 50% complete):

750047 FS_NR_IAB … Study onNR_IAB 100%
820170 NR_IAB-Core … Core part: NR_IAB 0%
820270 NR_IAB-Performance 850002 … CT aspects of NR_IAB 0%
830021 FS_NR_IAB_Sec … Study on Security for NR_IAB 50%
850020 … Security for NR_IAB 0%
850002 … CT aspects of NR_IAB 0%

References:

https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/at-t-expects-to-test-iab-2020-use-it-more-widely-2021

https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/verizon-to-use-integrated-access-backhaul-for-fiber-less-5g/d/d-id/754752

China to launch first private 5G satellite by end of 2019

Sources: China Daily/Asia News Network and Beijing Daily (see References blow)

China’s first private 5G low-orbit broadband satellite has passed factory tests and is expected to be launched at the end of the year, chinanews.com reported.  The 5G satellite is expected to be put into orbit via Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) rocket by the end of December.

It is China’s first satellite developed by a commercial aerospace company GalaxySpace and weighs approximately 200 kg.  The launch will be the first Q/V band and 200-kilogram private (non-government owned) satellite.

China’s first private 5G satellite manufactured by GalaxySpace has rolled off the production line. (Photo – China News Service)
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With an orbit altitude of 1,200 meters, it will cover 300,000 square kilometers, roughly equivalent to 50 Shanghai cities.  The satellite will gradually provide 5G signal services to various places through ground stations. From this starting point, China has  taken the first step in its 5G “space communications” journey.

The satellite, made by Galaxy Space, will be launched via the domestically made KZ-1A carrier rocket at the end of December.  Xu Ming, founder of GalaxySpace, said the launch of the satellite could mark the first step of its “space internet” project.  The company wants to develop more low-cost, high-performance 5G satellites in the future, so as to fill digital gaps and connect the world with the 5G satellite network, he added.

“The coverage of 5G signals from the sky is huge, and the signals of each 5G low-orbit broadband satellite can evenly cover a range of 300,000 square kilometers. Large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen can easily achieve full coverage for autonomous driving, aircraft, ships, high-speed rail And other mobile platforms to provide high-speed, stable, low-latency 5G network connection services. “Liu Chang said.

“China Telecom has proposed to promote the integration of mobile phone communications and satellites through software and hardware technologies such as mobile phone multi-mode.” Biqi, the chief expert of China Telecom and a member of Bell Labs in the United States, who is participating in the World 5G Conference, told reporters that Among the operators, China Telecom is currently the only operator with satellite spectrum related resources.

In order to make commercial use of 5G satellite signals as early as possible, Liu Chang said that Galaxy Aerospace is indeed expected to cooperate with operators.

Low-orbit broadband communications satellites could overcome challenges that ground base stations currently confront in covering areas such as deserts and the ocean, and shed light on those living in places where communication signals rarely reach, the report said.

References:

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2019/12/13/china-to-launch-first-private-5g-satellite

http://bjrb.bjd.com.cn/html/2019-11/23/content_12431015.htm

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201912/12/WS5df20a57a310cf3e3557dc80.html

 

 

ITU-R Schedule for completion of IMT-2020.SPECS; Workshop Results

Schedule for Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of International Mobile Telecommunications-2020 (IMT-2020) – IMT-2020.SPECS:

Meeting No. 33 (Dec. 2019, Geneva)

  1. Develop a detailed work plan
  2. Develop a working document towards PDNR M.[IMT-2020.SPECS]

Meeting No. 34 (Feb. 2020, Geneva)

  1. Review the work plan, if necessary
  2. Continue developing the working document towards PDNR M.[IMT-2020.SPECS]
  3. Receive and take note of “Form A”, in order to determine the structure of the Recommendation
  4. Provide and send liaisons to RIT/SRIT Proponents and GCS Proponents

Meeting No. 35 (Jun. 2020, [China])

  1. Receive and review information, including the texts for its RIT/SRIT overview sections, List of Global Core Specifications and Certification B by GCS Proponents1
  2. Reach its conclusion on the acceptability of the proposed materials for inclusion in the working document towards PDNR M.[IMT-2020.SPECS]
  3. Finalizes the working document including specific technologies (not necessarily including the detailed transposition references) and provisionally agree for promoting the document to preliminary draft new Recommendation
  4. Provide and send liaison of the provisionally agreed Preliminary Draft New Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] to the relevant GCS Proponents and Transposing Organizations for their use in developing their inputs of the detailed references

Meeting No. 36 (Oct. 2020, [India])

  1. Update PDNR if there are modifications proposed by GCS Proponent
  2. Perform a quality and completion check of the provisionally agreed final draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] without the hyperlinks
  3. Have follow-up communications initiated with GCS Proponents and/or Transposing Organizations, if necessary

Meeting No. 36bis (Nov. 2020, Geneva)

  1. Receive Transposition references and Certification C from each Transposing Organization
  2. Perform the final quality and completeness check (with detailed transposition references) of the preliminary draft new Recommendation and promotes it to draft new Recommendation
  3. Send the draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] to Study Group 5 for consideration

1____________________ If the GCS Proponentrnal (potential GCS Proponent) decides to use DIS style, it doesn’t need to submit List of Global Core Specifications but needs to submit full materials for describing its RIT/SRIT in the Recommendation and Form B.

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Workshop on IMT-2020 terrestrial radio interfaces evaluation (10 to 11 December 2019, Geneva, Switzerland):

ITU-R Working Party (WP) 5D started the evaluation process for Independent Evaluation Groups (IEGs) as of its 31st meeting in Oct. 2018, in conjunction with the ongoing IMT-2020 development under Step 3 and Step 4 of the IMT-2020 process.​

Working Party 5D has received, at its July 2019 meeting, several candidate technology submissions for IMT-2020 from six proponents, under Step 3 of the IMT-2020 developing process. ​

WP 5D held a workshop on IMT-2020, focusing on the evaluation of the candidate terrestrial radio interfaces at its 33rd meeting taking place December 2019 in Geneva, at which interim evaluation reports are expected. This will help the IEGs understand the details of the proposed candidate technologies, and interact amongst themselves as well as other WP 5D participants. This workshop is a continuation of the previous one on IMT-2020 held in 2017, Munich, which addressed the process, requirements, and evaluation criteria for IMT-2020 as well as views from proponents on the developments of IMT-2020 radio interfaces and activities of the IEGs.

https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/study-groups/rsg5/rwp5d/Pages/ws-20191210.aspx

December 12, 2019 UPDATE:

See Comment in box below this article for disposition of TSDSI, ETSI/DECT Forum, and Nufront IMT 2020 RIT self evaluations.  They have not “satisfactorily fulfilled Section 4.3 for the self-evaluation,” which means that the respective IMT 2020 RIT submissions will not be progressed at this time by WP 5D.

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