5G continues to capture headlines around the globe, as wireless companies everywhere take on the challenge of building a 5G wireless network. 2017 will be a pivotal year for 5G.
We’re heading to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week – one of the world’s largest and most important exhibitions for the wireless industry, where 5G will be a major focus.
Here’s what you should be watching for at the show:
1. The first steps toward 5G standards
The 3GPP standardization body has now defined two phases of 5G standards development, appropriately named Phase 1 and Phase 2. In 2017, the 3GPP hopes to define the first unified standard for Phase 1. In March, the 3GPP will kick off the first 5G work item with an expected completion in Sept 2018. Although 5G Phase 1 otherwise known as 3GPP Release 15 is expected to complete in 2018, we should get a clear picture of what will be included in the standard throughout 2017 as researchers around the world take on the monumental task of defining and standardizing each component of a new end-to-end network – and see the beginnings of these discussions at Mobile World Congress.
2. First looks at pre-commercial 5G systems
Wireless researchers have demonstrated 5G concepts in a variety of venues recently, and this year, public demonstrations should start taking on a more ‘productized’ look and feel as technologies mature. Since the 5G standards won’t be finalized until 2018, companies need to begin commercializing the technology in 2017 to ensure mass deployments in 2018. Expect to see first looks at these pre-commercial systems at Mobile World Congress.
3. mmWave moves forward
mmWave gained a lot of momentum in 2016 and we expect that to continue in 2017 with the first field trials of pre-release mmWave technology. Behind Verizon’s own ‘5G’ specification infrastructure, smart device companies will be working furiously in 2017 to deliver solutions to address the service operator’s aggressive timelines. Commercial companies are shifting investments from research to product development using the latest cutting edge technology – an unpredictable exercise as mmWave is still very new and not widely commercialized yet. This year we’ll see progress being made toward the first commercial deployments of mmWave technology (2018? 2019?), as we see more companies looking for mmWave testing in a true mobile environment. Expect to hear vendors talking more about this at Mobile World Congress.
We’ll be on the ground at Mobile World Congress reporting on news coming from the conference, as well as broadcasting demos of the latest 5G technologies. Follow us for the news: @NIglobal