The rollout of 5G is much more evolutionary than the rollout scenarios of previous cellular standards. The primary reason for the different pace relates to the gradual and piecemeal definition of the 5G standard by the main 5G standardization bodies, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The new cellular technology will encompass a large collection of capabilities not available in past cellular generations. This means that:
- 5G sets of capabilities will be released over the next three-plus years. The first set of specifications for 5G came out in 2018, and two more groups of 5G specifications will be released over the next three years, with an additional release at a later stage. Many use-case tests and pilots will align with these releases.
- It’s too early to deploy 5G for most potential use cases. Many use cases depend on various 5G specifications coming out over the next few years and on deployment of standalone 5G at scale. We’ll also see lag time between the release and deployment of infrastructure and device hardware.
- The timing of your product and service portfolio should be synchronized with 5G standards releases. 3GPP is finalizing global 5G network standards in two phases. It has now finalized standards for nonstandalone 5G built on top of existing 4G LTE networks and released specifications for standalone 5G networks deployed in locations without existing network infrastructure. 3GPP expects to finalize this second phase in June 2020.
The report “A Timeline Guide For Your 5G Strategy” helps CIOs and infrastructure professionals evaluate and prepare for the introduction timeline of 5G.