Today at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, a large number of network operators and mobile communication companies including Qualcomm Technologies have announced a partnership to support and accelerate the standardization of 3GPP 5G NR (New Radio) network technologies slated to be launched in 2020. However, the companies now intend to introduce an intermediate milestone in 2019 based on Non-Standalone 5G NR which will enable large-scale trials over existing LTE networks.
According to Qualcomm's official press release, 3GPP 5G NR technologies will be launched no earlier than 2020 as a part of Release 15, the 5G standard expected to utilize both mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum bands. Until then, a number of tech giants have teamed up to propose an intermediate milestone based on Non-Standalone 5G NR that would enable large-scale trials of 5G networking in 2019. The press release states that Non-Standalone 5G NR will utilize existing LTE networks for coverage and mobility management and add a new 5G radio access carrier in order to enable the use of 5G networking in certain cases as early as 2019. This intermediate milestone will not only facilitate the standardization of 5G technologies but also ensure that the launch of Standalone 5G NR in Release 15 is in accordance with the current schedule. The press release also states that the new proposal helps with the rising global demand for mobile broadband services without losing sight of future 5G NR developments in 2020 and beyond.
The list of companies that have agreed to collaborate on advancing 5G NR networking includes Qualcomm Technologies, AT&T, Sprint, Vodafone, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Korea Telecom, LG Uplus, KDDI, Ericsson, Telstra, British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Telia Company, Swisscom, TIM, Etisalat Group, Intel, Vivo, Huawei, ZTE, and LG Electronics. The press release also states that all of the aforementioned mobile communications companies will attend the upcoming 3GPP RAN Plenary Meeting that's scheduled to take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia from March 6 to 9. The companies plan to use that opportunity to further develop their plans for accelerating the deployment of 5G NR network technologies. Given that state of affairs, more information on their endeavors is bound to follow soon.