Who is waiting on the Standards ?

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5G in 2018, 2017 ? Who wants to win this race ? A race to the be the first…overtime, all the time.  I (Rajesh) have always had this fascination with sports events, the race for the podium, and drawing parallels in the technology world. I (Koo) have loved how technology leaders race at every corner – surprises …one ahead at a corner, another at the next corner.


With every technology turn, it’s a race to be the first one – Time to Market, brand, pride …name it.  The one who gets there first has a name (legacy), fame and fortune. 5G is round the corner – 2018. South Korea’s winter olympics @ Pyeongchang will show case this in a large scale.

At the 3GPP RAN 5G workshop held in Phoenix, USA (September 2015), 3GPP and the industry as a whole have decided to stage the 5G specifications work within 3GPP to 2 phases –

  • Phase 1 will be targeted at supporting early deployments by 2020 and will be forward compatible with Phase 2. This is to be completed by H2 2018 (Jul-Dec 2018)
  • Phase 2 will be full ITU-R IMT-2020 compliant (full 5G specifications). This is to be completed by Dec 2019

Telecommunications operators in South Korea (KT Corp, SK Telecom, LG U+) and Verizon Wireless (VzW) have announced their plans. In that South Korea will have largescale trial deployments in South Korea by Feb 2018 all ready for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and VzW will start 5G field trials next year (2016) and 5G commercial deployments starting in 2017.


We would expect to see pre-standardization 5G networks in deployments prior to 2020 as the 3GPP 5G standardization for Phase 1 timing of H2 2018) seems to be way too late for these early deployments.


The billion dollar question – “Does this then mean that these early deployment networks will not be supported by the standards when these are eventually being put in place ?” and “Will the investment and time to be spent on these early deployments be a wash?”


Before we answer this billion dollar question, let’s understand who are the major players driving the 3GPP standardization today – these are the Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, Intel, ZTE, Ciscos… of the world.


Oh wait – “ Are these the same set of main technology partners who are involved in ALL early 5G trials and commercial deployments globally, including South Korea and the US (with VzW) ?”  Yes !


Why would they do it ? It’s all about strategy and exploration. These same vendors among others will participate in the standards bodies and influence the standards. By doing early trials, IOT, POC they provide thought leadership, demonstrate intent and yearn to be an authority on the topic. It’s an investment for the future.


And that everything which they would “learn” and help to build out in these early deployments, will be carried forward into the 3GPP standards Phase 1 standardization.


So – who’s waiting for the standards? Not those who need to lead & win the race. The winners will be those who drive the standards and not just wait on the sidelines ….for it will be several steps too late in being a leader.


The same applies to any strategic field of play that you drive and lead. Get there early, train hard, be ahead and do bold things in understanding underlying use models, needs and converting these to requirements and specifications. Go Play the game…


If you don’t listen, you don’t learn

You don’t learn, if you don’t try.


Thought Leadership stems from the Love of the subject.

The fear of missing out  enables your strong Voice & Value


To be the first, requires a will above ALL.


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