It’s Official: A Version of 5G Coming a Year Early

    The sense for about a year has been that the adoption path to 5G, which initially called for the new standard to arrive in 2020, is accelerating.

    That quickening pace was made official by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the body charged with creating the new standard. At a meeting this week in Dubrovnik, Croatia, an interim 5G standard was agreed upon. The participants agreed to a variant of the standard called Non-Standalone NSA 5G New Radio (NSA 5G NR). This is an intermediate milestone that would enable large-scale trials and deployments in 2019, according to Lorenzo Casaccia, Qualcomm’s vice president of Technical Standards.

    Casaccia suggested that it is needed both as a platform for future development and to meet the challenge of today’s quickly growing capacity needs. It sounds as if it will be a true interim hybrid affair:

    Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G NR will utilize the existing LTE radio and core network as an anchor for mobility management and coverage while adding a new 5G carrier. This is the configuration that will be the target of early 2019 deployments (in 3GPP terminology, this is NSA 5G NR deployment scenario Option 3).

    Sprint, Qualcomm, Motorola Mobility Launch Gigabit LTE

    There will be a stop on road to 5G even before NSA 5G NR. Gigabit. This week, Sprint said that it, Qualcomm and Motorola Mobility initiated Gigabit class LTE in New Orleans.

    The service, according to Sprint, uses three-channel carrier aggregation and 60 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum. It employs 4×4 multiple in multiple out (MIMO) antennas and 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). The service was demonstrated on a device using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile platform and a Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.

    The rollout of the service across Sprint’s network will require upgrades to the network. Some of these have already been made in many markets and others are planned, according to the press release.

    Verizon Offers Zero-Rated Service

    Verizon sees what is happening at The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and in Congress in terms of rolling back changes made during the eight years of the Obama administration. The carrier has introduced a plan that zero-rates some streaming and download services to the FiOS Mobile App.

    Zero rating takes various forms. The idea is that subscribers are given access to content and services without data charges. It’s seen by some as a way around net neutrality rules, since zero rating can enable the carrier to favor one service (which perhaps it has a stake in or owns) over another.

    Verizon will offer such free service on four plans. The story points out that the FCC ended an investigation into AT&T’s Data Free TV, which is similar to the Verizon is offering.

    Extreme Networks ‘Stalking Horse Bidder’ for Avaya Networking

    Extreme Networks said on Tuesday that it has entered a purchase agreement with Avaya to acquire its networking business.

    The price of the unit is $100 million. The press release suggests that the company expects the deal to close during its fiscal 2018. Avaya went into chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 19. Extreme is the “stalking horse bidder” and will get a breakup fee and expense reimbursement if it does not prevail in the auction, which is being held under the bankruptcy rules.

    Resolution Introduced in Senate to Overturn Privacy Rule

    Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) this week introduced legislation that would reverse Federal Communications Commission (FCC) privacy rules that now are in place.

    The idea is to use a process through which recently introduced legislation can be nullified by majority vote. The existing rule, the “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” regulation, limits providers’ right to collect customer information. The Hill says that this includes app usage and Web browsing history.

    The rules were passed in October, and thus fall under the Congressional Review Act. It was opposed at the time by internet service providers. The privacy rules are also under attack by the FCC’s new leadership.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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