In response to COVID-19 3GPP has delayed the next two 5G standards releases – releases 16 and 17 – by three months.

3GPP Release 16 stage 3 freezing will now occur in June 2020 while Release 17 will now be frozen in June 2021.

Release 16 includes specifications that cover:

  • Enhancement of Ultra Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) support in the 5G Core network
  • Physical-layer enhancements for URLLC
  • 5G New radio (NR) support for Industrial Internet of Things
  • LAN services
  • NR-based access to unlicensed spectrum (NR_unlic)

Release 17 is expected to address:

  • Asset tracking in 5G (ATRAC)
  • Communication Service Requirements for Critical Medical Applications (CMED)
  • Enhancements for cyber-physical control applications in vertical domains (eCAV)
  • User equipment (UE) power saving enhancements for NR
  • Enhancements to Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) for NR

Many of the specifications in Release 16 and release 17 will address the use cases to go beyond enhances Mobile Broadband (eMBB). The URLLC specification addresses the industrial control use case. 5G NR support for IoT could also add industrial applications.

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Marin Ivezic is a Cybersecurity & Privacy Partner in PwC Canada focused on risks of emerging technologies.