5G hit a major milestone this week with the completion of the standalone version of the 5G New Radio (NR) standard.
The standard was officially completed at a meeting of global wireless standards body 3GPP in La Jolla, California, earlier this week.
The standalone 5G standard allows for the independent deployment of a 5G network, while the non-standalone spec, completed in December 2017, is supported by an existing 4G LTE network.
In a joint statement released by companies including Samsung, MediaTek, Huawei, Intel and Qualcomm, the group stated: “Now, the whole industry is taking the final sprint towards 5G commercialization.”
The statement noted that more than 600 delegates from the world’s major telecom operators, chipset vendors, internet companies and other related industry players witnessed the historic moment.
But while the standard hit a milestone with this release — Release 15 — it’s important to note that work on 5G is nowhere near over. In much the same way that 4G has evolved and continues to evolve, 5G is still a growing entity.
In fact, SRG Research and Consulting Services stated in a report that the 3GPP isn’t really finished the standalone spec — there’s still work to be done in lining functionality up with the International Telecommunication Union requirements, among other things.
The standard should be more solidified with Release 16, due in 2019, which will allow for the first major commercial trials and deployments of 5G.
5G is set to deliver peak multi-gigabit speeds and latencies in the single digit millisecond realm. In turn, this is expected to revolutionize the mobile industry and facilitate emerging technologies like autonomous driving and streaming VR.
For more on 5G in Canada, check out our explainer here.