A plenary meeting of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) took place in the US city of San Diego on 13 June 2018. As the sole R&D organisation representing Hong Kong, ASTRI’s delegation in that meeting included Dr Justin Chuang – Vice President of Next Generation Network and Dr Eric Tsang – Director of Next Generation Network. The 3GPP plenary meeting was a momentous occasion where standalone standards for 5G NR were agreed upon by more than 600 delegates from the world’s major telecom operators, network, terminals and chipset vendors, internet companies and other vertical industry companies. The standards will act as an industry benchmark for the forthcoming worldwide rollout of 5G services.
The latest standalone 5G NR standards mark a big step ahead for the industry – it effectively means the initial yet crucial phase of technical and operational standardisations are now completed. The industry now enters the stage of commercial deployment. Based on the new 3GPP standards, regulators, operators and manufacturers can now finalise their 5G launch plans – from building the network to sourcing equipments to deploying 5G services for consumers.
The next-generation 5G standard formulated by 3GPP covers multiple technical aspects. With unprecedented speed, 10-20 times as fast as 4G, 5G services will use frequency bands, providing consumers with greater network capacity and faster data and voice experiences. In addition to solving congestion problems in urban networks, 5G can also pave the way for more innovative and revolutionary applications and business potential.
Finalising the new 5G NR standards will benefit the entire industry by setting the ground for practical implementation. Operators and OEMs can now conduct connectivity, performance and compatibility testing of crucial elements like 5G NR chips as well as related applications. 5G services are expected to be commercialised sometime during 2019 with a sizeable international market of globally rolled out commercial networks, high-end devices and appliances and 5G-powered services taking shape in 2020. In addition to common public application services such as transmission of UHD 4K/8K and VR content, 5G will also facilitate a much wider range of applications including connected or driverless cars, and remotely controlled smart homes. Combined with artificial intelligence, drones, deep learning and other new technologies, 5G can indeed unlock a whole new world of smart businesses, smart living and smart cities. Even sectors like healthcare, manufacturing or construction can benefit from 5G, for instance when connected robots help humans to achieve bigger and better things.
As the largest Government-funded R&D institution in Hong Kong, ASTRI plays a key role in developing 5G applications and solutions. ASTRI will leverage the latest 3GPP standards for 5G NR and continue to strengthen its R&D pursuit that leads to successful rollout of 5G and overall Smart City development in Hong Kong.