The meeting is called RAN#75, which reminds us how long we’ve been agonising over radio access best-practice. It comes amid growing pressure from some parts of the industry to accelerate the air interface part of 5G, otherwise known as NR (New Radio – continuing the tradition of meaningless terms such as Long Term Evolution) and let the backhaul, cloud, etc catch up in its own good time.
That pressure was unleashed just before MWC 2017 in timing that was not coincidental. The many companies involved clearly wanted to put additional pressure on the 3GPP to speed things up at RAN#75 and the feeling is that it might have worked.
The meeting has already been going for a day and so far nothing has been publicly said about so-called ‘non-standalone 5G NR’. Instead we got a new RAN Chairman of the 3GPP in the form of Nokia’s Balázs Bertényi, who takes over from Qualcomm’s Dino Flore, the latter having served his maximum two terms.
Bertényi, left in the photo below accepting a symbolic bell from Flore for some reason, has been involved with the 3GPP for 15 years. “This is a great honour for me,” he said. “I now look forward to getting on with the technical work and the challenges ahead, as we continue progress on specifications for 5G’s new radio technology and enhancements to LTE, with the eyes of the whole industry on us.”
He certainly comes in at an interesting time, not least because Nokia doesn’t seem to be a fan of this drive to speed up NR standardisation. His first job will be to announced the 3GPP’s decision this week and, presumably, have heated conversations with those unhappy about it. Whatever is decided will hopefully be quickly reconciled by the industry and we can call get on with banging on about how great 5G will be again.