Who Needs 5G NR for eMBB When There’s Multi-Gigabit LTE?
5G is often described as the Holy Grail network with the potential to unlock new business opportunities beyond consumer markets, such as industrial automation, smart cities, robotics, automotive, and other Internet of Things (IoT) adjacencies. Since late 2015, the industry has been busy discussing ways to specify 5G standards in line with IMT-2020 recommendations. In March (2017), a common consensus has been agreed on the 5G New Radio (NR) eMBB workplan, whereby the first step is to accelerate non-standalone (NSA) 5G NR, and then evolve the specifications toward a fully-fledged standalone (SA) 5G network. NSA 5G NR will be specified under 3GPP Release 15, expected to be ratified by the end of 2018, with early commercial launches anticipated for 2019. SA 5G NR specifications will start under 3GPP Release 15, but the core specifications will be extended to Release 16, which will be ratified only in late 2019. Large-scale commercial services will not launch before 2021 at the earliest.
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