Defining 5G: The who and the how

Nicole Blanchard

Flexibility, reliability and ubiquity: When 5G comes into the conversation, these terms are likely to follow. They're part of the mess of ideas industry players are putting forward for the 5G network of the future. But how are these abstract ideas actually materializing as it comes to crunch time in 5G standardization -- and who will bring them together?

As the wireless industry begins on its timeline to 5G completion, the "who" has swelled to a mass of different -- and often confusing -- governing bodies. Already, organizations like the 3GPP and ITU, which have been integral in the development of past standards, have started developing timelines and research schedules to ensure the industry can take on this massive undertaking. A whole host of other groups also have begun workshopping and convening to streamline common goals beyond vague terms like "flexibility," and it seems like every day yet another university, carrier or other industry group announces that it's joining the fray.

So, with tens of groups and hundreds of members trying to comprehensively define the standard and all its minutiae, who will "win" and who will "lose" in 5G? According to analysts, the losers will be those who don't try to participate, and fingers are currently pointed toward the U.S., whose absence in the 5G standards process is a bit conspicuous once everything is laid out.

In light of the massive overload of 5G standardization information, I aggregated the lion's share of 5G partnerships, alliances and the like to get an idea of what the future holds for the technology, as well as a layout of involved parties across the globe. The results are short, sweet and to-the-point, and you can find them here. --Nicole