3GPP NR Meeting 230Balázs Bertényi of Nokia is the 3GPP RAN Chairman, who recently oversaw some remarkably intense work to finalize "5G NR." That's otherwise known as Release 15. Guy Daniels of TelecomTV got clear answers to questions every pr person has been ducking: What is it exactly? How does it differ from LTE radio? The "two main elements" apply to the older definition of 5G, high frequencies only.  

5G NR operates in higher bands, such as 28 GHz millimeter wave. There's a great deal of unused spectrum up there. Also More bandwidth in wider channels, up to 400 MHz. Few today have more than LTE's 100 MHz limit. But the U.S. 28 GHz band has ~2,000 MHz.

The illustration is a schedule from the frantic last week with ~ 200 hours of meetings to wrap things up. The words below are my edits. I recommend you listen to the video. It's less than three minutes.

 At high frequencies, the bandwidth is there. (The available spectrum is the whole point of using mmWave.) Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, & ZTE have all demonstrated 20 GHz peaks. Qualcomm models median actual user speeds well over a gig.

Bertényi doesn't forget, "We also have Massive MIMO." He projects the improved version of MM in Release 15 has 15-20% more throughput in the lower bands. I'm researching whether the improved MM is because of the "New Radio" or just is another improvement in Release 15.

"Of course," he adds, "We also have the low latency." The common target is < 10 milliseconds, although a future, ultrareliable version of 5G can get the latency from the cell to the phone down towards 1 ms. LTE is now down to 2 ms, although neither 5G nor LTE equipment with those low latencies is available. In most telecom networks, you have to add the latency from the cell to the C-RAN intelligence. No one is talking down to 1 or 2 ms unless the intelligence moves to the edge, which is very expensive.

With China Telecom now committing to 3.5 GHz, the strong majority of 5G in Europe and Asia will not be high frequency in the early years according to informal surveys.

There is much, much more in the Release.

dave ask

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Samsung has delivered 5G chip samples to BBK's Oppo and Vivo, the #2 or #3 phones manufacturer. Samsung is facing off against Qualcomm in the 5G market. Qualcomm is unfazed and reportedly moving the production of their next chip from TSMC to Samsung. 

Sprint's 2.5 GHz 5G is delivering 100-500 megabit downloads consistently. That bodes well for China Mobile, using the same frequencies.

Vodafone, BT, and soon 3UK are delivering modestly sized 5G mid-band networks. Vodafone is also live in Spain and Italy. 

Sunrise in Switzerland is using 5G mid-band for fixed wireless in rural areas.  

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Welcome  1,000,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first ten weeks. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.