MWC17: Cellcos, vendors urge more 5G trials to avoid standards fragmentation

5G unified standards please

Fourteen mobile operators and equipment suppliers issued a joint statement Tuesday urging the mobile sector to develop unified, global 5G standards via 5G testing, trials and cooperation between telecom operators, vendors and vertical industry partners.

AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Keysight, MediaTek, Nokia, Qualcomm, Rohde & Schwarz, ZTE and Datang issued the joint statement at the end of the Global 5G Test Summit, a forum hosted by four operators and supported by the ITU, GSMA, 3GPP, NGMN and GTI, on the sidelines of MWC17.

The objective of the joint statement was to remind mobile industry players that the 5G standardization process – which is currently in progress – is just the first step. Actual implementation of those standards – either via equipment makers designing solutions or cellcos deploying them – can sometimes vary from the formula, which in turn can create interoperability issues, which is detrimental to a unified end-to-end ecosystem the 5G market needs to thrive.

This risk for 5G is compounded by the fact that trials are already ongoing, even though the first standards won’t be commercially available until at least 2019. Earlier this week, over 20 of the mobile sector’s heavy hitters from across the ecosystem proposes an interim spec for Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G NR to accelerate the standards process and enable large-scale standards-compliant trials and deployments of 5G NR at least a year ahead of schedule. But so far it’s unknown if the 3GPP will adopt that proposal.

From the statement:

After standardization, testing and trials are vital to the success of 5G technologies, ecosystem development and cross-industry innovation. To achieve this goal, all participants committed to facilitating and ensuring a unified, high-quality and competitive 3GPP 5G specification by June 2018 for Release 15, and December 2019 for Release 16, building a unified 5G E2E ecosystem (including chipset, terminal, network, test instrument, etc.) for seamless global roaming, and enlarging the global market scale for low cost.

The statement also “encourages and welcomes partners from vertical industries to participate in tests and trials for 5G services.”

The 5G Test Summit featured progress updates from standards bodies like the ITU, 3GPP and the NGMN Alliance, as well as operator trial updates from China Mobile, AT&T, NTT DoCoMo and Orange, and vendor updates from Huawei and Ericsson.

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