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The 5G hardware wireless standards are now (mostly) finalized
- The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) have officially approved the hardware specifications for the standalone 5G standards.
- The same group approved the non-standalone 5G standards in December 2017.
- However, there may still be some small gaps in the standards that will need to be ironed out in the months ahead.
The quest to bring the world true 5G smartphones and wireless networks reached a major milestone this week. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) officially approved the hardware specifications for the standalone 5G standards, according to a group announcement made via Samsung.
Read more: What is 5G?
The same 3GPP group approved the non-standalone 5G standards in December 2017. The non-standalone standards are for wireless hardware that will be put in place on top of current LTE networks. This week’s new approval of the standalone 5G standards will be used for all-new wireless networks.
While this is a big move for the eventual launch of true 5G hardware, a research note from SRG Research and Consulting Services (via FierceWireless) points out that there are still gaps in the standards that may need to be ironed out over the next several months.
Even with these small details still to come, some companies are already demoing how the new 5G standards will work in the real world. In a joint statement and video, Verizon Wireless and Nokia announced that they had completed the first 5G connections, using the standards that were just approved, outside at Verizon’s campus in Basking Ridge, NJ, rather than in a lab. Verizon said their outside 5G tests supported multiple and simultaneous virtual reality sessions and 4K streaming video with latencies of 1.5 milliseconds. In addition, Verizon and Nokia said that they used 4CC (component carrier aggregation) to achieve download speeds of up to 1.8 Gbps via 5G networks.
Wireless carriers in the U.S. are slowly gearing up to launch their 5G networks. AT&T claims that 12 cities will have 5G support by the end of 2018. Verizon has stated 5G networks will go live in up to five markets by the end of the year, and T-Mobile claims it will have 5G support in up to 30 cities by the end of 2018. For its part, Sprint says it won’t be launching 5G support until the first half of 2019. In any case, the first smartphones with 5G modems also won’t likely launch until sometime in 2019.