Industry Blog

5G: What vendors won’t tell you about Release 16

Time to read: 2 minutes

This article appeared on VanillaPlus 

5G is nearly here. According to a recent study we conducted, says John Giere, president of
Enea Openwave, one third of mobile operators are planning to deploy 5G standalone (SA)
within 18 months to two years.

5G coverage for many areas of the world is still nascent, but demand for 5G clearly is
building steadily with nearly one half of US and UK enterprises already making plans for it,
according to another recent poll. These preparations and the anticipation surrounding 5G is
a testament to many exciting business and lifestyle opportunities the technology will
enable. 5G offers much faster speeds, of course, but it is much more than 4G on steroids.
Rather, 5G offers enterprises and operators alike a tantalising opportunity to drive revenue
based on new and innovative use cases for a diverse range of sectors.

What’s different now?

As well as cool, new, innovative use cases, 5G will also signal a new era of freedom for
operators. 3GPP, the global governing body in charge of cellular standards, is preparing to
launch Release 16 later this year. As well as detailing numerous technical enhancements, it
also signals an important shift in the approach to data management which will allow
operators for the first time to mix and match vendor equipment.

Release 16 mandates a clear split between 5G data and 5G functions. Network functions will
share a single database that links to a Network Data Layer comprised of structured and
unstructured data. Added to this are new rules that allow operators to opt for best-of-breed
solutions rather than the traditional vendor lock-ins that have characterised investments in
previous iterations of the cellular standard. For operators, this means unprecedented
freedom and the flexibility to select vendors on a domain level or for single network
functions.

The opportunity for operators…

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