Apple joins 5G research group

The Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance (NGMN) has announced that Apple is the latest organisation to join its ranks, as the association aims to catalyse the development of research and standards for 5G.

The NGMN Alliance is a collaborative effort comprised of operators, vendors, research groups and universities; and earlier this year it focused its group efforts on the further advancement of 5G research. The recent addition of Apple, as well as Dutch cable operator Ziggo and China’s Peking University, gives the association a shot in the arm as well as the expertise of one of the world’s leading handset manufacturers.

“We are extremely happy to welcome Ziggo, Apple, and Peking University as partners of the NGMN Alliance”, said Peter Meissner, who is CEO of the alliance. “They will play a vital role in our efforts to shape the vision and requirements for 5G.”

Recently, the NGMN have been looking to identify the core value proposition of 5G, and Rachid El Hattachi, who is the Steering Committee Chairman of the 5G Initiative at NGMN and a Senior Vice President at German incumbent Deutsche Telekom, reckons that early successes need to be intensively built upon, in order for 5G to really advance.

“At the NGMN 5G workshop, our partners provided a very promising outlook on potential 5G capabilities and solutions,” he said. ”We now have to make sure to continue this intensive discussion and to leverage the expertise of our partnership for the successful finalisation of the White Paper.”

Deutsche Telekom is by no means the only operator trying to force the initiative’s development, the NGMN Alliance board is made up of CTOs from 20 global operators, and Vodafone also announced its R&D partnership with Germany’s Dresden University of Technology. Luke Ibbeston, who is head of research and development for Vodafone, believes that long-lasting and concentrated efforts are required in order to make 5G a reality.

“While 5G is in very early stages of development it’s important that we invest the time and effort to really understand the technology,” he said. “There are several years of research ahead of us and Vodafone looks forward to working closely with Dresden and its other partners around the world to build a technical foundation for the next generation of mobile communications.”

As 4G continues to roll out globally, and its potential has yet to be fully realised, the infantile stages of 5G development are already gaining significant traction from industry heavyweights. With the NGMN Alliance leading the industry charge, it will be interesting to gain some clarity from the group soon about the technical requirements for 5G, and what we can look forward to.


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