A couple of days ago, 3GPP has published a tentative timeline for their upcoming 5G technology standardization activities in the coming years. In other words, the first steps are now made from a "what could 5G be" to "what will 5G be".
The 3GPP timeline set for 5G pretty much starts today with the SA1 SMARTER Study item and extends well into 2020:
- Today: SA1 SMARTER Study Item
- September/December 2015: Radio Channel Modeling and kick-off of a RAN Study item on scope and requirements.
- Feburary 2016: RAN Study Item to evaluate potential solutions
- 2018: A RAN Work Item to specify the solutions agreed on that will extend into at least 2020.
- LTE will continue to evolve over the timeframe as well as it is seen as an integral part of an overall 5G network architecture.
The first step to get from "what could it be" to "what will it be" might actually be the most difficult one as the ideas about what "5G could be" currently imply a fundamental conceptual change both in terms of technology and who does what in the value chain. I've taken a look at a couple of 5G whitepapers and will post a summary of my thoughts in an upcoming blog post.
No matter how this turns out in the next 5 years it's going to be an interesting Odyssey with lots of surprises along the way!