5G has long-since promised a revolution in connected services – a new industry report on 5G-Advanced shows us how to get there
Since 5G’s standardisation in 3GPP’s Release 15 in 2018, 5G has had a huge impact in modernising enterprises across the globe. In 2024 we can expect Release 18, which is dedicated to 5G-Advanced (5G-A), a mid-point in this generation’s standardisation and a means of realising the ‘internet of everything’.
The capabilities of 5G-A are outlined in the GSMA’s new industry report, Advancing the 5G Era:
Benefits and Opportunity of 5G-Advanced, which is designed to give businesses a head start on how to capitalise 5G-A’s commercial potential. The report, which is the first of its kind on this new technology, explains how 5G-A will make fundamental upgrades to 5G’s performance, management and ability to adapt to specific use-cases. As a result, we can expect 5G to be deployed for more applications, in more locations and at far greater scale. This means everyday services and the activities they enable will be increasingly characterised by high quality connectivity. For example, 5G-A will feature time-sensitive networks, timing-as-a-service and precise network-based positioning. This will make it possible to provide connectivity to devices moving at high velocities, such as those on trains and on planes. It will also provide a means for supporting uncrewed aerial vehicles, as well as new functionality on satellites, which until now have relied on non-terrestrial networks such as GNSS.
New applications enabled by 5G-Advanced
Among other important upgrades enabled by 5G-A are a dramatic improvement to uplink speeds, which will now be capable of supporting highly immersive, interactive and tactile applications. These are expected to be widely deployed in the entertainment, training and education sectors where they will support new forms of remote interaction and create new digital communities. In particular, the report explains how 5G-A provides the high data rates and low latencies required for the mass-adoption of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR). Until now, may aspects of these metaverse technologies have been confined to domestic interiors, but, as the new iteration of 5G becomes the norm in geographies across the globe, XR solutions will be increasingly capable of adapting to users’ mobility and location. The report suggests how the industry can build a new ‘mobile metaverse’ by investigating how to support interactive XR media shared among multiple users in a single location and the best way to identify users’ digital representations.
In general, 5G-A will also further strengthen support for low cost, low power-devices, such as industrial wireless sensors and wearables. This will make it far easier for business to integrate sophisticated IoT services into their operations, which will ultimately bring more engaging, cost-effective products to everyday life.
Recognising groundbreaking research into 5G-Advanced
The research into 5G-A has been recognised as an outstanding contribution to the industry. As a result, its leading contributors, Huawei and China Mobile, won a GSMA Foundry Excellence Award, presented at MWC Barcelona 2023. These annual awards are presented to GSMA Foundry projects which have demonstrated outstanding levels of innovation, collaboration, solving real-life challenges, and project delivery in under 12 months.
According to the GSMA’s Global Head of IoT, Identity and Big Data, Richard Cockle, “5G-Advanced, the next milestone in the 5G era, has demonstrated the innovativeness and future potential of the already standing 5G ecosystem with improvements to speed, coverage, and efficiency. Enhancing the XR capabilities and sustainability within AI & Machine Learning designs, 5G-A has created several business opportunities for the global enterprise market.”
Industry collaboration brings us a step closer to 5G-Advanced
Prior to Release 18, a number of industry partnerships have been formed to take advantage of the moment 5G-A becomes a commercial reality. For example, In December 2022, China Mobile convened the industry and formed a collaborative agreement with 65 industry partners including Huawei, Zhanrui, Vivo, and the Sinobo Group. Collectively, they have formed an industry-wide 5G-A action plan to help share technical breakthroughs, align priorities and conduct mutual trials. More recently, 5G-A was a core subject at the MWC Barcelona 23 5G Futures Summit. The event featured experts from a number of industry leaders across the globe, including China Mobile, du, Ericsson, GSMA, Hong Kong Telecom, Huawei, NVIDIA, Orange Group, Qualcomm and Zain– all of which underscored their commitment to finding common solutions for 5G-A.
As more organizations prepare for the arrival of this new network technology, we encourage the wider industry to invest time into understanding 5G-A’s new capabilities and avoid missing the opportunities created by this fundamental upgrade – thankfully, our new report can set you off on the right foot.