ITU sets next steps for 5G, picks 'IMT-2020'

The ITU has decided on the term it will use to refer to IMT-2020, and it is, appropriately enough, "IMT-2020," referencing the year in which most industry watchers expect 5G to commercially deploy.

The ITU-R Working Party 5D wrapped up a week of meetings in San Diego on June 18, saying it has now defined the overall goals, process and timeline for the development of 5G mobile systems. "This process is now well underway within ITU, in close collaboration with governments and the global mobile industry," the group said in a press release.

Contrary to multiple press reports, Inside 5G reports that the ITU has not decided that 5G equates to data speeds of 20 gigabits per second, a figure it traced back to The Korea Times, which cited a ministry official.

The ITU is expected to further define its IMT-2020 vision later this year. A statement from ITU obtained by Inside 5G reads as follows: "As of now, the peak data rate of IMT-2020 for enhanced Mobile Broadband is expected to reach 10 Gbit/s. However, under certain conditions and scenarios, IMT-2020 would support up to 20 Gbit/s peak data rate. ITU-R Study Group 5 will meet on 21 July to approve the Recommendation, which will then become available during the Radiocommunication Assembly in October."

The ITU-R Radiocommunication Assembly is expected to formally adopt the term "IMT-2020" when it meets in October. The name works as an extension of the ITU's existing family of global standards for International Mobile Telecommunication systems (IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced), which serve as the basis for 3G and 4G mobile systems.

"The buzz in the industry on future steps in mobile technology--5G--has seen a sharp increase, with attention now focused on enabling a seamlessly connected society in the 2020 timeframe and beyond that brings together people along with things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in a smart networked communications environment," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, in the release. "ITU will continue its partnership with the global mobile industry and governmental bodies to bring IMT-2020 to realization."

The next step is to establish detailed technical performance requirements for the radio systems to support 5G, taking into account the needs of a wide range of future scenarios and use cases, and then to specify the evaluation criteria for assessment of candidate radio interface technologies to join the IMT-2020 family, according to ITU.

Some analysts surmise that Nokia Networks' (NYSE:NOK) $16.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is largely driven by a desire to create a 5G powerhouse. Besides what Nokia is already doing, the combined company will have a presence in France that includes a 5G/small cell R&D Center of Excellence, a cybersecurity lab similar to its existing facility in Berlin and a continued focus on Bell Labs and wireless R&D. Nokia also intends to establish an investment fund for startups in France with a focus on the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet.

For more:
- see this Inside 5G article and this article
- see this FierceWirelessEurope article
- see The Korea Times' article
- see the press release

Related articles:
Nokia shares its rules for 5G deployment
Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent combination to create 5G powerhouse, analysts say
5G visions include drones, robots, high-altitude balloons
South Korea pushes forward on 5G, promises global cooperation

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