3GPP finally freezes 5G release 16 and warns of further delays

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The latest freeze of the 5G standard was delayed by a quarter coz of coronavirus and there are likely to be knock-on effects.

Release 16, which you can see the key features of below, was finally signed off by the global telecoms elite in one of those unavoidable video meetings last week. It had taken them so long because of the coronavirus pandemic and they were actually due to meet in China just as it really kicked off. Still, at least they avoided further delays.

That doesn’t seem like something they’ll be able to do for release 17, however. “Discussions at TSG#88-e Plenaries identified that the Rel-17 dates are at a high risk of being delayed,” said the announcement following the recent meeting. “This is due to the switch from physical meetings to e-meetings. This will be further discussed in Sept 2020, during TSG#89-e.”

There’s not much else to add at this stage, so we’ll leave you with some 3GPP diagrams. The first shows what was just frozen, the second illustrates the historical release 16 timeline and the third what’s expected for the next year or two.

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