More than 50 global tech and telecom giants on Thursday announced the approval of standalone 5G specifications by standards-setting group 3GPP.
The group issued its first 5G New Radio standards, for non-standalone operations, late last year, but the companies said the Release 15 specifications approved at the meeting in San Diego enable a “brand new end-to-end network architecture” and the independent deployment of 5G.
“The 5G system specification has now reached its official stage of completion thanks to the intense efforts of hundreds of engineers over the past three years,” Erik Guttman, chairman of 3GPP TSG SA, said in the statement.
Jefferies analysts wrote in a note that the proposal puts 5G’s progress “very much on track.”
The firm expects a final publication of Release 15, with complete technical specifications, by September, but the note said industry will begin meeting those standards ahead of time.
Chipsets for 5G handsets should be available by the middle of next year, with the handsets themselves hitting the market in the second half of 2019, analysts wrote.
And while carriers in the U.S. plan to launch fixed wireless 5G this year and non-standalone mobile service early next year, the note suggested China would see the large-scale commercial launch of standalone 5G in 2020.
“The outcome is an amazing set of standards that will not only provide higher data rates and bandwidth to end customers but which is open and flexible enough to satisfy the communication needs of different industries,” added 3GPP TSG CT Chairman Georg Mayer.
3GPP’s next specifications, Release 16, are expected by the end of 2019, Jefferies noted.