NGMN pushes for operator-focused 5G standard

BARCELONA, Spain - The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance will work on a 5G standard with the goal of making 5G available for deployment by 2020. Although the group was vague on exactly what 5G services will provide in terms of capabilities, several NGMN members said that there is a need for a unified approach to developing a 5G standard so vendors will have clear guidance for the future.

"We understand the customers and we will decide and evaluate what technology will be the future technology," said Jae Byun, chairman of NGMN and CTO of SK Telecom during a media event held in conjunction with the Mobile World Congress trade show. The NGMN, which includes operator members such as AT&T, Orange, SK Telecom, China Mobile and more, said that its operator partners serve about 60 per cent of wireless subscribers worldwide. The group also has about 40 vendor partners.

The group said the first step is to write a whitepaper outlining the technical features of 5G. The draft of that whitepaper will be ready this summer and the final paper will be presented at year-end. According to Peter Meissner, operating officer at the NGMN Alliance, the group is looking for input not only from its members but also from the entire industry, including non-traditional telco companies such as the over-the-top players.

Kris Rinne, senior vice president of network technologies at AT&T and a member of the NGMN, said that while AT&T is committed to LTE and LTE Advanced, it is time to define the use cases and a new architecture for 5G because it is important to have interoperability, consistency and roaming capabilities across the network. "NGMN is in the right place," Rinne said. 

When asked what those "use cases" were that the NGMN was referring too, Rinne said that it is hard to know now but the key is to prepare for many different scenarios. "How do you provide more efficient architectures and solutions across different capabilities? What are the APIs, the latency and the resiliency? By focusing on these we will enable the applications rather than defining the use case of 2021."

For more:
- See this press release

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