5G wireless standard getting more real

ITU preps for more 5G wireless standards work, buoyed by all sorts of 5G action at MWC 2016

5G wireless standard getting more real

People walk past a 5G banner during the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Credit: REUTERS/Albert Gea

As IDG News Service colleague Stephen Lawson reported from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, product vendors and service providers are going as fast as they can to get 5G wireless delivered. And while demonstrated speeds of 20Gbps to 70Gbps blow away today's top of LTE speeds of maybe 1Gbps, keep in mind that all of today's 5G stuff is pre-standard.

That's where the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) comes in, and it reports this week that its Working Party 5D is meeting in Beijing to further develop IMT-2020, the standard for 5G mobile systems expected to be ready in 2020. This is that group's first meeting since a decision was made last year at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) 2015 "to identify and harmonize spectrum for operation of IMT systems in frequency bands below 6 GHz." Work is also underway to find additional spectrum above 6 GHz to support 5G wireless.

“Following additional spectrum allocations for mobile during the World Radiocommunication Conference in late 2015, ITU is continuing to work in close collaboration with governments and the global mobile industry to make rapid progress in bringing the vision of IMT-2020 to fruition,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, in a statement. “Future steps in 5G mobile technology are aimed at a new paradigm of connectivity among people and things in a smart, networked environment encompassing big data, applications, transport systems and urban centres.”

In the meantime, we'll be keeping an eye on trials announced by the likes of AT&T and Verizon, and those we expect to hear about from other carriers in the weeks and months ahead.

MORE: Check out our 5G & Mobile blog

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