3GPP delegates prepare the way for 5G Release 17

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The Digital Service Provider, episode 1.34

The small town of Sitges in Spain, just along the coast from Barcelona, was the venue for the 86th meeting of the 3GPP technical standards groups. The annual Plenary gathering of mobile experts was tasked with finalising the details of the next major release of 5G – Release 16 – whilst also agreeing the scope of the forthcoming Release 17. At the conclusion of the week-long event, Telecom TV spoke to the chairs of the 3GPP specification groups to find out the status - and the future - of 5G.

The RAN (radio access network) Group completed the physical layer functionality work of Release 16 during the plenary meeting in Sitges. Protocol functionality will be completed in the next three months, then all the specifications will be frozen by June 2020, which will be a key step for the stability of the release. The CT (core network and terminals) Group is on target to complete its work in March, subject to late new requirements that may push the final work to June. The SA (service and system aspects) Group welcomed an increased number of new member delegates from vertical industries, as part of an ongoing process of evolving the network into a platform that verticals can use.

All groups are now looking to define the content for Release 17, much of which will come from vertical industry use cases and mission critical services. One of the new areas will be satellite, with a new 5G radio enhancement planned for LEOs and GEOs.


  • Balazs Bertenyi, RAN Chair, 3GPP
  • Lionel Morand, CT Chair, 3GPP
  • Georg Mayer, SA Chair, 3GPP

Filmed at: 3GPP Plenary, Sitges, Spain, December 2019

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